Friday, August 04, 2006

"Atis" (Sugar-Apple Fruit)

Sugar-apple, also known as "Sweetsop" and "Custard-apple", is a native to the tropical Americas. It is the most widely cultivated of all the species of Annona, being grown widely throughout the tropics and warmer subtropics. It is a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub or small tree reaching 8 m tall. The leaves are alternate, simple, oblong-lanceolate, 7-12 cm long and 3-4 cm broad. The flowers are produced in clusters of 3-4, each flower 2-3 cm across, with six petals, yellow-green spotted purple at the base.

The fruit is usually round or slightly pine cone-like, 6-10 cm diameter, with a scaly-like or lumpy skin. The fruit flesh is white, and resembles and tastes like custard. The name "custard-apple" is frequently, though technically incorrectly, used to refer to this species. In the Philippines, it is called "atis". The picture was taken at our backyard, planted by my hubby a few years ago. Now, it’s bearing fruits ! It is abundant in August to October.

Scientific Classification:
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Division: Magnoliophyta
  • Class: Magnoliopsida
  • Order: Magnoliales
  • Family: Annonaceae
  • Genus: Annona
  • Species: A. squamosa

Nutritional Value:

Sugar-apple is high in calories and is a good source of iron.

Role in the Ecosystem

  • In the Philippines, it is most commonly eaten by the Philippine Fruit Bat (Kabag or Kabog) which transfers it from island to island.
  • It is larval host plant of the Tailed Jay Butterfly (Graphium Agamemnon)

Traditional Applications

It is used by some societies in India to prepare a hair tonic. The seeds are also ground and applied to rid the hair of lice.

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