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Sugar apple on tree.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Magnoliales
Family: Annonaceae
Genus: Annona
Species: Annona squamosa
Binomial name
Annona squamosa
Michał Boym's drawing of, probably, the sugar-apple in his Flora Sinensis (1655)

Sugar-apple or sweetsop or Custard apple is the fruit of Annona squamosa, the most widely grown species of Annona and a native of the tropical Americas and West Indies. The Spanish traders of Manila galleons brought it to Asia where its old Mexican name ate may still be found in Bengali ata, Nepalese aati, Sinhalese mati anoda, Burmese awzar thee, and atis in the Philippines. It is also known as custard apple in India and (mainly Annona reticulata) in the Philippines.[1] The name is also used in Portuguese as ata.

The fruit is spherical through conical, 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) in diameter and 6–10 cm (2.4–3.9 in) long, and weighing 100–240 g (3.5–8.5 oz), with a thick rind composed of knobby segments. The color is typically pale green through blue-green, with a deep pink blush in certain varieties, and typically has a bloom. It is unique among Annona fruits in being segmented, and the segments tend to separate when ripe, exposing the interior.

The flesh is fragrant and sweet, creamy white through light yellow, and resembles and tastes like custard. It is found adhering to 13-to-16-millimetre-long (0.51 to 0.63 in) seeds forming individual segments arranged in a single layer around a conical core. It is soft, slightly grainy, and slippery. The hard, shiny seeds may number 20–40 or more per fruit and have a brown to black coat, although varieties exist that are almost seedless.[1][2]

There are also new varieties being developed in Taiwan. The atemoya or "pineapple sugar-apple," a hybrid between the sugar-apple and the cherimoya, is popular in Taiwan, although it was first developed in the US in 1908. The fruit is similar in sweetness to the sugar-apple but has a very different taste. As its name suggests, it tastes like pineapple. The arrangement of seeds is in spaced rows, with the fruit's flesh filling most of the fruit and making grooves for the seeds, instead of the flesh's occurring only around seeds.


Sugar-apple with cross section

As a result of its widespread cultivation, many local names have developed for the fruit.

  • In English, it is most widely known as a sugar apple or sweetsop as well as a custard apple, especially in India and Australia (custard apple also refers to Annona reticulata, a closely related species).
  • In Hispanic America, regional names include anón, anón de azucar, anona blanca, fruta do conde, cachiman, saramuyo, grenadilla (little grenade) and many others.
  • In Arabic, it is called قشطة (qishta / ishta / ashta), the translation being "cream".
  • In Aceh, it is called "seureuba".
  • In Angola, it is called fruta-do-conde or fruta-pinha.
  • In Bambara, it is called zumzum or sunsun
  • In The Bahamas, it is called "sugar apple".
  • In Brazil, it is called fruta-do-conde, fruta-de-conde, condessa, fruta-pinha, pinha (lit. cone), ata or anona.
  • Its name in Burmese is aajaa thee.
  • In Cambodia, regional names include "plae teib".
  • In Curacao, it is called "skopapel".
  • In Ethiopia, it is called Gishta (ጊሽጣ) in Amharic.
  • In Germany, it is called Zimtapfel, because of its taste.[3]
  • In Ghana, it is called "Sweet Apple".
  • In Greece, it is called γλυκόμηλο (sweet apple).
  • In Haiti, it is called kachiman.
  • In Hong Kong, it is called foreign lychee (番鬼荔枝).
  • In Iceland, it is called hvaðerþetta.
  • In India it is known as: Sitaphal in most languages, literally meaning Sita's fruit
    In Bengali: ata (আতা)
    In Gujarati: sitaphal (સીતાફળ)
    In Hindi: sitaphal (सीताफल) or sharifa (शरीफ़ा)
    In Kannada: sitaphala (ಸೀತಾಫಲ)
    In Malayalam: aathakka (ആത്തക്ക) / seethappazham (സീതപ്പഴം)
    In Marathi: sitaphal (सीताफळ)
    In Punjabi: sharifa (ਸ਼ਰੀਫਾ)
    In Tamil:
    sitappalam (சீதாப்பழம்)
    In Telugu:
    sita phalamu (సీతా ఫలము).
  • In Indonesia, srimatikiya or, as mostly people call it, srikaya.
  • In Jamaica, it is called "sweetsop" or "sweet-sop".
  • In Kenya, it is called matomoko.
  • In Madagascar, it is called conicony in Malagasy.
  • In Malawi, it is called "mpoza" in chewa.
  • In Malaysia, it is called buah nona.
  • In Mauritius, it is called "zatte" in the Creole language.
  • In Martinique it is called pomme cannelle.
  • In Mozambique it is called ata.
  • In Nepal, it is called "aati" as well as "saripha" (सरीफा).
  • In Nicaragua, it is called "annona guatemala".
  • In Northern Nigeria, it is called fasadabur in Hausa
  • In Pakistan, it is called Sharifa (شريفا)
  • In the Philippines, it is called atis.
  • In Singapore, it is called Lim kim.
  • In Sri Lanka, it is called "Anoda" or "Katu Atha" in Sinhalese, "Annamunnaa" (அன்னமுன்னா) in Tamil.
  • In Taiwan, it is called sakya (Chinese: 釋迦; pinyin: shìjiā; Taiwanese: sek-khia, sek-kia) because one cultivar resembles the top part of Shakyamuni's (釋迦牟尼) head.
  • In Tanzania, it is called matopetope.
  • In Thailand, it is called noi-na (น้อยหน่า).
  • In Uganda, it is called ekistaferi.
  • In Vietnam, it is called mãng cầu ta or na.
  • In Yemen, it is called Khirmish (خرمش).

Nutrition and uses[edit]

Sugar-apples, (sweetsop), raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 393 kJ (94 kcal)
23.64 g
Dietary fiber 4.4 g
0.29 g
2.06 g
Thiamine (B1)
0.11 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.113 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.883 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.226 mg
Vitamin B6
0.2 mg
Folate (B9)
14 μg
Vitamin C
36.3 mg
24 mg
0.6 mg
21 mg
0.42 mg
32 mg
247 mg
9 mg
0.1 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Sugar-apple is high in energy, an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, a good source of thiamine and vitamin B6, and provides vitamin B2, B3 B5, B9, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium in fair quantities.[4]

A Philippine company produces sugar apple wine.[citation needed]

For uses of other fruit from the Custard-apple family see:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Morton, Julia (1987). "Annona squamosa". Fruits of warm climates. p. 69. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "Annona squamosa". AgroForestryTree Database. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Bernd Nowak, Bettina Schulz: Taschenlexikon tropischer Nutzpflanzen und ihrer Früchte. Quelle&Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2009, ISBN 978-3-494-01455-5, p. 57–59.
  4. ^ "Benefits of Custard apple". 22 December 2014. 

External links[edit]