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An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter of August 18, 2008
issued from Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula

ANNONA SQUAMOSA, or Sweetsop or Sugar-Apple

If you were with me in Chiapas you may recall the sweet Anona fruit, sometimes called Cherimoya in English, I enjoyed so much. Beside my front door here an Anona tree stands heavy with delicious fruits, but this Anona isn't the same species I introduced you to in Chiapas. The Chiapas Anona is shown here.

A fruit from the tree outside my door here is shown above.

Our Chiapas Anona was Annona cherimola, but the one outside my door is ANNONA SQUAMOSA, in English sometimes referred to as Sweetsop or Sugar-Apple. The most obvious difference between the fruits is that the Chiapas fruits' bumps aren't as distinct and well developed as those on the Yucatan fruits. In fact, when one of the fruits outside my door passes its peak of ripeness, turns brown and starts drying out, the bumps separate from one another and the fruit falls apart.

Anona fruits are "syncarps," which means that each fruit is derived from a single flower with two or more pistils, which partially fuse together as the pistils mature. Flowers containing several pistils traditionally have been regarded as being "primitive" -- as having evolved before flowers with only one pistil, which is the case with most flowers today.

People in Sabacché call the tree outside my door Saramullo and Tzermuy, and I wouldn't be surprised if in Mexico another 50 names could be found for it. Whatever it's called, the Annona squamosa outside my door bears fruits that are sweet and messy, and which gum up my beard so nicely that during a good eating session I draw honeybees.

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