The native region of the sugar apple is yet un clear. It is commonly cultivated in tropical South America, Central America, southern Mexico, the West Indies, Bahamas and Bermuda, and southern Florida. In Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Barbados, and in dry regions of North Queensland, Australia, it has escaped from cultivation and is found wild in pastures, forests and along roadsides.
The Spaniards probably carried seeds from the New World to the Philippines and the Portuguese are assumed to have introduced the sugar apple to southern India before 1590.
It was growing in Indonesia early in the 17th century and from there it has been widely adopted in southern China, Queensland, Australia, Polynesia, Hawaii, tropical Africa, Egypt and the lowlands of Palestine. The sugar apple is one of the most important fruits in the interior of Brazil and is conspicuous in the markets of Bahia.
Sugar apple fruit
Sugar apple(aka Sweetsop) are a small size about 2-4", knobby fruit with soft, creamy white, flesh custard-like pulp containing several shiny dark brown seeds (embedded in the pulp), often having a minty or custardy flavor. The ripe sugar apple is usually broken open and the flesh segments enjoyed while the hard seeds are separated in the mouth and spat out. It can be eaten fresh or used to make beverages and shakes.
The sugar apple tree ranges from 10 to 20 ft (3-6 m) in height with open crown of irregular and more branches, and some-what zigzag twigs. Leaves are aromatic when crushed.
Harvesting immature fruit will not ripen satisfactorily and will remain hard, turn brown, and slowly decay. When a green type sugar apple fruit mature, fruit color changes from green to yellowish green, the area between protuberances swells and becomes yellowish, and the fruit becomes covered with a white or bluish bloom. When a purplish-red colored sugar apples mature they take on a darker purple color and at maturity the color between protuberances becomes bright pink. Fruit should be picked at the mature stage and allowed to ripen (soften) at room temperature before being refrigerated. Ripe sugar apple may only be stored between 2 to 4 days.
Products from apple sugar
The seeds are acrid and poisonous. Bark, leaves and seeds contain the alkaloid, anonaine. Six other aporphine alkaloids have been isolated from the leaves and stems are: (1)corydine, (2)roemerine, (3)norcorydine, (4)norisocarydine, (5)isocorydine and (6)glaucine. Aporphine, norlaureline and dienone may also presents.
Powdered seeds, also pounded dried fruits serve as fish poison and used as insecticides in India.
A paste of the seed powder has been applied to the head to kill lice but must be kept away from the eyes as it is highly irritant and can cause blindness. If applied to the uterus, it induces abortion. Heat extracted oil from the seeds has been employed against agricultural pests. Studies have shown the ether extract of the seeds to have no residual toxicity after 2 days. High concentrations are potent for 2 days and weaken steadily, all activity being lost after 8 days.
In India and Mexico, the leaves are rubbed on floors and put in hen's nests to repel lice.
The seed kernels contain 14 to 49% of whitish or yellowish, non-drying oil with saponification index of 186.40. It has been proposed as a substitute for peanut oil in the manufacture of soap and can be detoxified by an alkali treatment and used for edible purposes. The leaves yield an excellent oil rich in terpenes and sesquiterpenes, mainly B-caryophyllene, which finds limited use in perfumes, giving a woody spicy accent.
Fiber extracted from the bark has been employed for cordage. The tree serves as host for lac-excreting insects.
In India the crushed leaves are sniffed to overcome hysteria and fainting spells; they are also can be applied on ulcers and wounds; and the leaf decoction is taken in cases of dysentery. Throughout tropical America, a decoction of the leaves alone or with those of other plants is imbibed either as an emmenagogue, febrifuge, tonic, cold remedy, digestive, or to clarify the urine. The leaf decoction is also employed in baths to alleviate rheumatic pain.
The green fruit, very astringent, is employed against diarrhea in El Salvador.
In India, the crushed ripe fruit, mixed with salt, is applied on tumors. The bark and roots are both highly astringent. The bark decoction is given as a tonic and to halt diarrhea. The root, because of its strong purgative action, is administered as a drastic treatment for dysentery and other ailments.
However there are seedless type sugar apples 'Cuban Seedless' and 'Brazilian Seedless' introduced, the fruit split when nearing maturity, and the fruit quality and yield is reported to be inferior to seedy types.
Indian horticulturists have studied the diverse wild and cultivated sugar apples of that country and recognize 10 different types. and they are:
Red — red-tinted foliage and flowers, deep-pink rind, mostly non-reducing sugars, insipid, with small, blackish-pink seeds; poor quality; comes true from seed.
Red-speckled — having red spots on green rind.
Crimson — conspicuous red-toned foliage and flowers, deep-pink rind, pink flesh.
Yellow, White-stemmed, Mammoth — pale yellow petals, smooth, broad, thick, round rind segments that are light russet green; fruits lopsided, pulp soft, white, very sweet; comes true from seed.
Balangar — large, with green rind having rough, warty [tuberculate], fairly thick rind segments with creamy margins; sweet; high yielding.
Kakarlapahad — very high yielding.
Washington — acute tuberculate rind segments, orange-yellow margins; high yielding; late in season - 20 days after others.
Barbados, British Guiana — having green rind, orange-yellow margins; high-yielding; late.
cultivars from Alexandria and Egypt:
Beni Mazar — nearly round, large, 5 1/4 to 6 1/2 oz (150-180 g); 56-60% flesh; 15 30 seeds.
Abd El Razik — light-green or reddish rind; nearly round, large, maximum 8 1/3 oz (236.3 g); 69.5% flesh; 14 seeds.