Annona glabra, known as pond-apple, alligator-apple, swamp-apple, corkwood, and monkey-apple, is a tropical fruit tree in the family Annonaceae. Related species include cherimoya (A. cherimola) and soursop (A. muricata). It is native to southern Florida in the United States (including the Everglades), the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, West Africa, and South Asia (Sri Lanka); it is an aggressive invader in the Pacific region.
A. glabra grows in swamps and tolerates saltwater; it cannot grow in dry soil. The trees reach a height of 15 m. They have thin, gray trunks, often buttressed at the base. Leaves, which are late deciduous, are ovate to oblong with an acute tip, 8–15 cm long and 4–6 cm wide. Flowers are solitary, 2–3 cm across, white to light yellow, with a rose-colored patch at each sepal base. Fruits are oblong to spherical, 7–15 cm long and up to 9 cm diameter (Wikipedia 2011).
Fruits disperse by floating on water. A. glabra appears to have naturally colonized West Africa from seeds transported on water from tropical America (Csurshes and Edwards 1998, ISSG 2011).
Pond-apple fruits are eaten by many animal species: the common name alligator-apple is said to come from the fact that American alligators eat the fruit. The fruit has pungent to aromatic flesh, which is edible for humans, and can be made into jam. Some people consider the flavor agreeable, while others have characterized it as “insipid” or “scarcely desirable” (FNA 2011, FOC 2011). The flavor and texture are considered inferior to the related cherimoya and soursop, and the fruit has never attained popular use. However, a recent study (Cochrane et al. 2008) suggests that an extract from pond-apple seeds contains anticancer compounds that could be used pharmaceutically.
A. glabra is used as a hardy rootstock for grafts of more commercially desirable related fruits, such as soursop and sugar-apple (A. squamosa). Other than this, it is not cultivated widely.
Through its introduction as a rootstock, however, A. glabra has escaped cultivation and become weedy or invasive in Pacific countries including Fiji, French Polynesia, Vietnam, and Australia (PIER 2011). The Global Invasive Species Database describes it as “a highly invasive woody weed that threatens wetland and riparian ecosystems of wet tropics, world heritage areas and beyond.” (ISSG 2011). It can invade fresh, brackish and saltwater areas and its thickets are capable of replacing whole ecosystems. Its seed is primarily dispersed by water, especially during floods. Disturbed flood-prone ecosystems are most at risk from pond apple invasion, particularly mangroves, melaleuca woodlands, riparian areas, drainage lines, coastal dunes and islands (Australian Government 2003). In estuaries and mangrove swamps, it can outcompete grasses and sedges, inhibit germination of Melaleuca species, and alter fire regimes (ISSG 2011).
It is categorized as a Class 2 weed in Australia, which indicates that it has spread over substantial areas of Australia (particularly in Queensland), and has serious impacts that must be controlled (Queensland 2007). Its sale in Australia for any purpose is prohibited.
- Australian Government. 2003. Weeds of National Significance—Weed management guide: Pond apple (Annona glabra). Retrieved 31 October 2011 from http://www.weeds.gov.au/publications/guidelines/wons/pubs/a-glabra.pdf.
- Cochrane, C.B., P.K. Nair, S.J. Melnick, A.P. Resek, C. Ramachandran. 2008. Anticancer effects of Annona glabra plant extracts in human leukemia cell lines. Anticancer Research 28 (2A): 965–71.
- Csurches, S., and R. Edwards. 1998. Potential environmental weeds in Australia. Queensland Department of Natural Resources. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. P. 139. Retrieved 1 November 2011 from .
- FNA. 2011. Annona glabra Linnaeus. Flora of North America 3: 1753. Retrieved 31 October 2011 from http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=200008506.
- FOC. 2011. Annona glabra Linnaeus. Flora of China 19: 712. Retrieved 31 October 2011 from http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200008506.
- ISSG. 2011. Annona glabra (tree). Global Invasive Species Database, Invasive Species Specialist Group, International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 31 October 2011 from .
- PIER. 2011. Annona glabra. US Forest Service, Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). Online resource accessed 1 November 2011 at http://www.hear.org/pier/species/annona_glabra.htm.
- Queensland. 2011. Fact sheet: Pond apple (Annona glabra). Queensland Government, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Land Protection (Invasive Plants and Animals). Retrieved 1 November 2011 from http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/documents/Biosecurity_EnvironmentalPests/IPA-Pond-Apple-PP58.pdf.
- Wikipedia. 2011. "Annona glabra." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2 Jul 2011, 17:34 UTC. 17 Oct 2011. http://eol.org/pages/1054891/details#wikipedia.
- Felder, D.L. and D.K. Camp (eds.), Gulf of Mexico–Origins, Waters, and Biota. Biodiversity. Texas A&M Press, College Station, Texas. http://www.marinespecies.org/porifera/porifera.php?p=sourcedetails&id=145245
Localities documented in Tropicos sources
Brazil (South America)
Ecuador (South America)
El Salvador (Mesoamerica)
French Guiana (South America)
United States (North America)
Gabon (Africa & Madagascar)
Suriname (South America)
Guyana (South America)
Venezuela (South America)
Costa Rica (Mesoamerica)
Colombia (South America)
Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
- Forzza, R. C. & et al. 2010. 2010 Lista de espécies Flora do Brasil. http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/2010/. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/100002289
- Cowan, C. P. 1983. Flora de Tabasco. Listados Floríst. México 1: 1–123. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/511
- Anonymous. 1986. List-Based Rec., Soil Conserv. Serv., U.S.D.A. Database of the U.S.D.A., Beltsville. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1103
- Steyermark, J. 1995. Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana Project. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/158
- Molina Rosito, A. 1975. Enumeración de las plantas de Honduras. Ceiba 19(1): 1–118. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/866
- Linares, J. L. 2003 . Listado comentado de los árboles nativos y cultivados en la república de El Salvador. Ceiba 44(2): 105–268. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1029566
- Funk, V. A., P. E. Berry, S. Alexander, T. H. Hollowell & C. L. Kelloff. 2007. Checklist of the Plants of the Guiana Shield (Venezuela: Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro; Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana). Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 55: 1–584. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1033072
- Nelson, C. 1978. Contribuciones a la Flora de la Mosquitia, Honduras. Ceiba 22(1): 41–64. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/5269
- ORSTOM. 1988. List Vasc. Pl. Gabon Herbier National du Gabon, Yaounde. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1671
- Trusty, J. L., H. C. Kesler & G. H. Delgado. 2006. Vascular Flora of Isla del Coco, Costa Rica. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci., ser. 4, 57(7): 247–355. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1029752
- Chatrou, L. W., P. J. M. Maas, C. P. Repetur & H. Rainer. 1997. Preliminary list of Ecuadorean Annonaceae. 97–122. In Estud. Div. Ecol. Pl. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador; Aarhus University, Quito; Århus. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1005479
- Standley, P. C. & J. A. Steyermark. 1946. Annonaceae. In Standley, P.C. & Steyermark, J.A. (Eds), Flora of Guatemala - Part IV. Fieldiana, Bot. 24(4): 270–294. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/6388
- Meyer, F. G. 1992. Magnoliaceae Family for Flora of North America. 32 pp. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/44466
- Kral, R. 1992. Annonaceae. 39 pp. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/44721
- Cabrera Cano, E. F., E. Hernández Martínez, J. Salvador Flores & C. Salazar Gomez. 2004. Annonaceae de la Peninsula de Yucatán. Etnofl. Yucatanense 21: 1–63. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1030323
- Long, R. W. & O. K. Lakela. 1971. Fl. Trop. Florida i–xvii, 1–962. University of Miami Press, Coral Cables. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1506
- Correa A., M. D., C. Galdames & M. N. S. Stapf. 2004. Cat. Pl. Vasc. Panamá 1–599. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1031911
- Jørgensen, P. M. & S. León-Yánez. (eds.) 1999. Catalogue of the vascular plants of Ecuador. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 75: i–viii, 1–1181. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/42250
- Sousa Sánchez, M. & E. F. Cabrera Cano. 1983. Flora de Quintana Roo. Listados Floríst. México 2: 1–100. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/512
- Small, J. K. 1933. Man. S.E. Fl. i–xxii, 1–1554. Published by the Author, New York. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1515
- Flora of North America Editorial Committee, e. 1997. Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. 3: i–xxiii, 1–590. In Fl. N. Amer. Oxford University Press, New York. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/24627
- Godfrey, R. K. & J. W. Wooten. 1981. Aquatic Wetland Pl. S.E. U.S. Dicot. 933 pp. Univ. Georgia Press, Athens. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1711
- Flora of China Editorial Committee. 2011. Fl. China 19: 1–884. Science Press & Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing & St. Louis. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/100003187
- Flora of China Editorial Committee. 2008. Fl. China 7: 1–499. Science Press & Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing & St. Louis. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/100000023
- Pérez, A., M. Sousa Sánchez, A. M. Hanan-Alipi, F. Chiang Cabrera & P. Tenorio L. 2005. Vegetación terrestre. 65–110. In Biodivers. Tabasco. CONABIO-UNAM, México. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1030034
- Novelo, A. & L. Ramos. 2005. Vegetación acuática. Cap. 5: 111–144. In Biodivers. Tabasco. CONABIO-UNAM, México. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1030036
- Balick, M. J., M. Nee & D. E. Atha. 2000. Checklist of the vascular plants of Belize. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 85: i–ix, 1–246. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1014725
- Hokche, O., P. E. Berry & O. Huber. 2008. 1–860. In O. Hokche, P. E. Berry & O. Huber Nuevo Cat. Fl. Vasc. Venezuela. Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela, Caracas. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1033110
- Idárraga-Piedrahita, A., R. D. C. Ortiz, R. Callejas Posada & M. Merello. 2011. Flora de Antioquia. Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares, vol. 2. Listado de las Plantas Vasculares del Departamento de Antioquia. Pp. 1-939. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/100008595
- D'Arcy, W. G. 1987. Flora of Panama. Checklist and Index. Part 1: The introduction and checklist. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 17: v–xxx, 1–328. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/1289
Depth range (m): 1 - 1
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.
Comments: Swamps and ponds.
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Annona glabra
No available public DNA sequences.
Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Annona glabra
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 11
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Reasons: In South America, found from the Guyanas south to Santa Catarina (Santos 1987). Found in southern Florida, and widely distributed in Tropical America as well as the coast of West Africa. Found in swamps and on pond banks.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Comments: The fruit is edible and common to Panama. Brucher (1984) states "We have seen it growing wild on the banks of rivers in Panama. Its smallish fruits have a pleasent odour, yellow flesh and black kernels. It cannot be excluded that A. glabra may be an ancestral form of some of the domesticates." Used in carpentry and for boxes, batten (translated from "ripas", Portugese) and boat masts (Santos 1987).
Annona glabra is a tropical fruit tree in the family Annonaceae, in the same genus as the Soursop and Cherimoya. Common names include Pond-apple, Alligator-apple (called so because American Alligators sometimes eat the fruit.) Swamp apple, Corkwood, Bobwood, and Monkey-apple. The tree is native to Florida in the United States, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and West Africa. It is common in the Everglades. It grows in swamps, is tolerant of saltwater, and cannot grow in dry soil.
The trees grow to a height of around 10–12 m. They have thin, gray trunks and sometimes grow in clumps. The leaves are ovate to oblong with an acute tip, 8–15 cm long and 4–6 cm broad with a prominent midrib. The upper surface is light to dark green. The fruit is oblong to spherical and apple-sized or larger, 7–15 cm long and up to 9 cm diameter, and falls when it is green or ripening yellow. It disperses by floating to new locations, and it is food for many animal species such as wild boar. Reproduction begins after 2 years. A fruit contains 100 or more pumpkin-like seeds, about 1 cm. long.
Unlike the other Annona species the pulp of the fruit when ripe is yellow to orange instead of white. The fruit is edible for humans and its taste is reminiscent of ripe Honeydew melon. It can be made into jam and it is a popular ingredient of fresh fruit drinks in the Maldives.
The flesh is sweet-scented and agreeable in flavor, but it has never attained general popular use unlike Soursop and other related fruits. Experiments in South Florida have been made in an attempt to use it as a superior rootstock for Sugar-apple or Soursop. While the grafts initially appear to be effective a high percentage of them typically fail over time. Soursop on Pond-apple rootstock has a dwarfing effect.
It is a very troublesome invasive species in northern Queensland in Australia and Sri Lanka, where it grows in estuaries and chokes mangrove swamps. Its seedlings carpet the banks and prevent other species from germinating or thriving. It also affects farms as it grows along fencelines and farm drains. It also invades and transforms undisturbed areas. In Sri Lanka it was introduced as a grafting stock for custard apples and spread into wetlands around Colombo.
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- Standley, Paul C. (1922). "Trees and Shrubs of Mexico". United States National Herbarium 23 (2): 281–282.
- "Annona glabra". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- Lalith Gunasekera, Invasive Plants: A guide to the identification of the most invasive plants of Sri Lanka, Colombo 2009, p. 112–113.
- Annona glabra fruit
- FAO Trees and shrubs of the Maldives
- Cochrane CB, Nair PK, Melnick SJ, Resek AP, Ramachandran C (2008). "Anticancer effects of Annona glabra plant extracts in human leukemia cell lines". Anticancer Research (International Institute of Anticancer Research) 28 (2A): 965–71. PMID 18507043.
- ”Pond apple (Annona glabra) weed management guide”, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra, at http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/publications/guidelines/wons/pubs/a-glabra.pdf
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