Family: Annonaceae (sugar apple family)
Genus: Annona
Botanical name: Annona squamosa
Sanskrit: Seetaphalam, Sudha, Subha
Hindi: Sharifa, Sitaphal
English: Custard apple, Sugar Apple
Malayalam: Athachakka, Attha, Seetapazham
Custard apple is a small, semi-(or late) deciduous, much branched shrub or small tree 3 metres (9.8 ft) to 8 metres (26 ft) tall very similar tosoursop (Annona muricata) with a broad, open crown or irregularly spreading branches and a short trunk short, not buttressed at base. The fruit of A. squamosa has delicious whitish pulp, and is popular in tropical markets. Branches with light brown bark and visible leaf scars; inner bark light yellow and slightly bitter; twigs become brown with light brown dots. Thin leaves occur singly, 5 centimetres (2.0 in) to 17 centimetres (6.7 in) long and 2 centimetres (0.79 in) to 6 centimetres (2.4 in) wide, rounded at the base and pointed at the tip. Pale green on both surfaces and mostly hairless with slight hairs on the underside when young. The sides sometimes are slightly unequal and the leaf edges are without teeth, inconspicuously hairy when young.
Leaf stalks are 0.4 centimetres (0.16 in) to 2.2 centimetres (0.87 in) long, green, sparsely pubescent. Solitary or in short lateral clusters about 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in) long, 2-4, greenish-yellow flowers on a hairy, slender 2 centimetres (0.79 in) long stalk. Green outer petals, purplish at the base, oblong, 1.6 centimetres (0.63 in) to 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in) long, and 0.6 centimetres (0.24 in) to 0.75 centimetres (0.30 in) wide, inner petals reduced to minute scales or absent. Very numerous stamens; crowded, white, less than 1.6 centimetres (0.63 in) long; ovary light green. Styles white, crowded on the raised axis. Each pistil forms a separate tubercle (small rounded wartlike protuberance), mostly 1.3 centimetres (0.51 in) to 1.9 centimetres (0.75 in) long and 0.6 centimetres (0.24 in) to 1.3 centimetres (0.51 in) wide which matures into the aggregate fruit.
Flowering occurs in spring-early summer and flowers are pollinated by nitidulid beetles. The Fruits, seeds, Roots and Leaves are used for gastrointestinal diseases, respiratory diseases, inflammatory diseases, anaemia, vomiting, cough, malignancy and general tonic.
Custard Apple
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