Publication from IFAS Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service
Gene Joyner, Extension Agent (retired)
Annona Squamosa: The Sugar Apple
The Sugar Apple Annona squamosa
is a small deciduous tree that only reaches a height in Florida of
about 20 to 25 feet. Native to Central America this grows best in warm
frost free areas. The leaves are alternate, 6-8 inches long and thin,
and the tree loses those leaves shortly after Christmas and is bare for
about four to six weeks. Flowers appear with the leaves in the spring
and the fruit ripens starting in mid to late summer through late fall.
are anywhere from 3 to 5 inches in diameter with a lumpy green skin and
upon maturity the fruit has a bluish or white blush. Some varieties are
developed that have a red blush or red skin which are much more
attractive. At maturity fruits have a custard like white pulp with
small black seeds and the sweet flesh is eaten fresh or used for
milkshakes and ice creams. During wet summers often maturing fruit
tends to split and this can be prevented by picking the fruits just
prior to full maturity and ripening them off the tree.
easily started from seed and it takes one to two years for seedlings to
start producing flowers. Many superior varieties are available and
these are sold through nurseries as grafted or budded plants. Trees
have few problems other than cold weather, but the fruit is attacked by
annona seed borer and occasionally caterpillars might chew foliage.
once mature, can be cleaned and the pulp frozen for many months for
future use. If close to salt water, protect sugar apples from direct
ocean spray since this may cause burning of the thin leaves. Some
varieties to look for include Island Gem, Lincoln, Cuban, Brazilian and
Sugar apples make great container plants, too, so if you
don't have much space try growing these in a 10 or 15 gallon tub, and
they will still reward you with a number of delicious fruit.
in the landscape should be fertilized every three to four months with a
citrus or palm type fertilizer containing good levels of
micro-nutrients. In highly alkaline soil deficiencies may develop that
require nutritional sprays to correct.
In North America most sugar apples and other Annonas
are eaten out of hand. Its a different story in many other areas
where Annonas are used in a wider variety of ways. A coarse pulp
can be made simply by removing the outer rind and seeds. The following
is an easy puree. On the average 2 pounds of fruit will yield about 2
cups of puree.
the fruit to become soft and ripe. Remove the pulp from with in the
peel or rind and tear it into small pieces. Try and remove most, if not
all the seeds. Force the pulp through a potato ricer or food mill or
you may squeeze it through several layers of cheesecloth. The
thick, juice pulp or puree can be used in ice cream, milkshakes and
Back to Sugar Apple Page