This section is from the book "Manual Of Tropical And Subtropical Fruits", by Wilson Popenoe. Also available from Amazon: Manual Of Tropical And Subtropical Fruits.
Pond-apple (Annona glabra, L.). - This species is of no value as a fruit, but has been used as a stock for other annonas. It grows wild in south Florida around the shores of Lake Oke-chobee and along the Indian and Caloosahatchee rivers; occurring also in the West Indies, on the mainland of tropical America, on the west coast of Africa, and in the Galapagos Islands. In Florida it is often called custard-apple; in the West Indies alligator-apple and cork-wood. While tropical in nature, it withstands a few degrees of frost. It is swamp-loving, as the name here used indicates, and a vigorous grower. The tree is usually small, but sometimes reaches a height of 40 feet. The leaves are smooth, ovate to oblong or elliptic in form, acute to bluntish, glossy green above and paler beneath. The flowers are large, with the outer petals cream-colored, the inner smaller and narrower, whitish outside and blood-red within. The fruit is ovoid or heart-shaped, 2 to 4 inches long, smooth, yellowish when ripe, with soft yellowish flesh. Mexican writers have asserted that the tree is cultivated and the fruit sold in the markets. These statements are due to the confusion of A. glabra with other species of Annona, most probably the smooth-fruited forms of A. Cherimola and A. reticulata. Annona palus-tris, L. and A. laurifolia, Dunal are synonyms of A. glabra, L.
Wild cherimoya (Annona longiflora, Wats.). - This species comes from the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Horticulturally it is not yet well known, but it is said to have been introduced into California. Safford describes it as a shrub or small tree, with leaves resembling those of the true cherimoya but distinguished when mature by being glabrate or glabrescent between the lateral nerves. The flowers are often 2 inches long. The fruit is conical or ovate in form, the surface smooth to rough as in the cherimoya, which in flavor it resembles.
Mountain soursop (Annona montana, Macf.). - This species is native to the West Indies, where it is also known as guanabana cimarrona (Spanish, wild guanabana) and corossolier batard (French). It is a small forest tree with leaves resembling those of the soursop; the flowers also resemble those of that species. P. J. Wester, 1 who tested the fruit in the Botanic Garden at Buitenzorg, Java, was "surprised to find it of remarkably good quality considering that it is entirely unimproved and that it has never been recorded as edible. The fruit is about the size of a small custard-apple, with sparse, short prickles; greenish, and with yellowish, rather cottony but juicy and subacid, refreshing pulp, somewhat recalling the flavor of the soursop though inferior to that fruit." The tree is larger and more robust than A. muricata.
1 Philippine Agrl. Review, 2, 1916.
Soncoya (Annona purpurea, Moc. & Sesse). - This tree is little known outside of southern Mexico and Central America, where it is native. In Mexico it has been confused with the soursop, although neither foliage nor fruit resembles that of A. muricata. It is confined to the lowlands; a moist, hot climate suits it best. In Mexico it is sometimes called cabeza de negro (negro-head) and ilama. The leaves are large, oblong-elliptic to oblong-obovate in form, acuminate at the apex. The young branchlets are reddish pubescent. The flowers resemble those of the soursop. The fruit is round, sometimes as much as 6 inches in diameter, brownish gray in color and covered with pyramidal protuberances which terminate in short hooks curved toward the stem. The carpels, which separate readily, each contain an obovate brown seed about an inch long. The flesh is bright orange in color, soft, of pleasant flavor suggesting that of the northern papaw (Asimina triloba). The fruit is not highly esteemed, but is common in the markets of the regions where it is native. The tree is cultivated in Mexican and Central American dooryards. Because of its large size, its thick skin, the attractive color of its flesh, and its aromatic flavor, the soncoya is of interest in connection with the possibilities of annona breeding.
Posh-te (Annona scleroderma, Safford). - This species, which grows wild in southern Mexico and Guatemala, is scarcely known in cultivation. It is remarkable for its thick, relatively hard shell, which makes it of possible value with regard to the production of annonas suitable for shipping to distant markets. This is a vigorous tree with large, thick, glabrous, oblong leaves and small cinnamon-brown flowers. The fruit is roundish oblate in form, about 3 inches in diameter, with dull green surface divided into areoles by small ridges, the shell being nearly 1/4 inch thick. The seeds, which are embedded in the white melting pulp, are about the same size as those of the cherimoya. O. F. Cook 1 says: "The texture of the pulp is perfect, the flavor aromatic and delicious with no unpleasant aftertaste. It is much richer than the soursop, with a suggestion of the flavor of the matasano (Casimiroa edulis). . . . The most fragrant pulp is close to the rind. The seeds separate from the surrounding pulp more readily than in most annona fruits." The posh-te appears to be adapted to moist tropical regions most probably at elevations of less than 4000 feet.
Annona testudinea, Safford, the anona del monte of Honduras and Guatemala, is closely related to A. scleroderma. The fruit has soft, juicy pulp similar to that of the cherimoya but not quite so highly flavored. When fully ripe the surface takes on a brownish color. The external appearance of the fruit resembles that of the posh-te, although the ridges are not so pronounced. Both of these species merit horticultural attention.
Biriba (Rollinia deliciosa, Safford). - Jacques Huber 2 describes this as a medium-sized tree common in the orchards of Para, Brazil. Its growth is rapid and it prospers equally well in sun and shade. "Of all the annonaceous fruits cultivated in Para this seems best adapted to our (i.e., the north Brazilian) climate, springing up almost spontaneously wherever seeds fall." The biriba has been referred incorrectly to R. orthopetala, A. DC, from which it can be distinguished by the decurved wings of its flowers. The leaves are obovate-oblong or elliptic in form, acuminate, 8 to 11 inches long, and nearly glabrous. The fruit is roundish oblate in shape, 3 to 5 inches in diameter, cream-yellow in color, with the areoles distinctly outlined. The flesh is white or cream-colored, juicy, sweet, and of pleasant flavor. In Para it has been characterized as the finest annona-ceous fruit of tropical America, but Florida-grown fruits do not entitle the species to this distinction: neither do specimens purchased in the markets of Rio de Janeiro, where they are sold under the name fructa da condessa (Countess' fruit). The tree is adapted only to tropical lowlands and to regions in the sub-tropics which are practically free from frost. At Miami, Florida, the mature tree has been killed by a temperature of 26.5° above zero.
1 Journal Wash. Acad. Sci., Feb. 19, 1913. 2 Boletim Museu Goeldi, 1904.>