Annona reticulata is a small deciduous or semi-evergreen tree in the plant family Annonaceae. It is best known for its fruit, called custard apple, a common name it shares with fruits of several other species in the same genus: A. cherimola and A. squamosa or sometimes it is called wild-sweetsop, bull's heart, bullock's-heart, or ox-heart. The flavor of the fruit is sweet and pleasant, but less popular than that of A. cherimola.
The slender leaves are hairless, straight and pointed at the apex (in some varieties wrinkled), 10 centimetres (3.9 in) to 20 centimetres (7.9 in) long and 2 centimetres (0.79 in) to 7 centimetres (2.8 in) wide.
The yellow-green flowers are generally in clusters of three or four 2 centimetres (0.79 in) to 3 centimetres (1.2 in) diameter, with three long outer petals and three very small inner ones.
Fruits and reproduction
The fruits are variable in shape: heart-shaped, spherical, oblong or irregular. The size ranges from 7 centimetres (2.8 in) to 12 centimetres (4.7 in), depending on the cultivar. When ripe, the fruit is brown or yellowish, with red highlights and a varying degree of reticulation, depending again on the variety. The flesh varies from juicy and very aromatic to hard with a repulsive taste. The flavor is sweet and pleasant, akin to the taste of 'traditional' custard.
Possibly a native of the Caribbean and Central America,Annona reticulata is now pantropical and can be found growing between altitudes of 0 metres (0 ft) to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) in areas of Central America that have alternating seasons. It is cultivated in many tropical countries, and also occurs as feral populations in many parts of the world, including Southeast Asia, Taiwan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, and Africa.