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Orchard Trees - Pond Apples

( Originally Published 1927 )

The pond apple (Anna glabra, Linn.) is our only representative of its genus that reaches tree form and size, and it is the second of our native custard-apples. It comes to us via the West Indies, and reaches no farther north than the swamps of southern Florida. It is a familiar tree on the Bahama Islands. Thirty to forty feet high, the broad head rises from a short trunk, less than two feet in diameter, but very thick compared with the wide-spreading, contorted branches and slender branch-lets. It is often buttressed at the base. The leaves are oval and pointed, rarely more than four inches long, bright green, leathery, paler on the lower surface, plain-margined. The flowers in April form pointed, triangular boxes by the touching of the tips of the yellowish white petals, whose inner surfaces near the base have a bright red spot.

The fruit, which ripens in November, is somewhat heart-shaped, four to six inches long, compound like a mulberry. The smooth custard-like flesh forms a luscious mass between the fibrous core and the surface, studded with the hard seeds. Fragrant and sweet, these wild pond apples have small merit as fruit. Little effort has been made to improve the species horticulturally. Its rival species in the West Indies have a tremendous lead which they are likely to keep.

The Cherimoya

Anona Cherimolia, Mill.

The cherimoya, native of the highlands of Central America, has long been cultivated, and its fruit has been classed, with the pineapple and the mangosteen, as one of the three finest fruits in the world. Certainly it deserves high rank among the fruits of the tropics. This also has been introduced into cultivation in southern Florida, but its culture has assumed much more importance in California, where it seems to feel quite at home.

The tree is a handsome one, with broad velvety bright green leaves, deciduous during the winter months. It grows wherever the orange is hardy, and its fruit, heart-shaped or oval, green or brown, is about the size of a navel orange. Conical protuberances cover the surface and enclose a mass of white, custard-like pulp, with the flavor of the pineapple, in which are imbedded twenty or thirty brown seeds. A taste for this tropical pond apple is as easily acquired as for the pineapple, which has become universally popular. Every garden in the Orange Belt should have a cherimoya tree for ornament and for its fruit.

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