Pests

Pond Apple

The Problem

Pond Apple (Annona glabra) is a major weed impacting areas in northern Queensland. Pond Apple was originally imported to Australia in 1912 as root stock for Custard Apple. Unfortunately its invasive nature was not realised until it was found growing in dense clumps in mangrove systems in Northern Queensland. Scattered dense infestations occur along the eastern coast and the tip of the Cape York Peninsula.

The potential distribution of Pond Apple includes north Western Australia, the top end of the Northern Territory, the Gulf of Carpentaria, Torres Strait Islands, and coastal areas along the eastern coast of Australia from Cape York to northern New South Wales.

During 2008 a pond apple infestation was located in Andergrove, a northern suburb of Mackay and again in 2009 a fruit was brought to the attention of local biosecurity officers. The fruit was collected from a tributary creek within the Reliance Creek Catchment also just north of Mackay. Upon identification an extensive search was carried out to identify the extent of the infestation. The current infestation occurs within a 20 hectare area within the Reliance Creek Catchment.

Pond Apple is a small to medium tree that threatens mangroves, rainforests, and drainage systems including; creeks, river banks, coastal dunes and wetlands. Seed are spread primarily by water and have a high potential to be spread by animals including the southern cassowary and feral pigs.

This species is a Weed of National Significance and a class 2 declared weed in Queensland meaning that it is a serious offence to introduce, keep, or supply Pond Apple in Queensland without a permit issued by Biosecurity Queensland. Penalties of up to $80,000 apply.

Project Description and Partners

As a result of the damage Pond Apple will do, replacing the native vegetation, the current three year program “Eradication of pond Apple outlier infestations in the Mackay-Whitsunday Region,” was developed and has been funded through the Australian Government’ Caring for our Country Initiative. This program aims to eradicate the Mackay Infestation of pond apple, a weed of national significance. Combining on-ground removal and monitoring of the outlier infestation with education and awareness raising, particularly in high risk areas where incursions are likely.

Site Background

There are two sites where Pond Apple has been located. The first site being the Reliance Creek Catchment while the second site is located at the top of Vines Creek, Andergrove.

The Pond Apple Tree

  • Young Pond Apple Tree: the typical height is 3-6 meters; however they can grow up to 15 meters.
  • Pond Apple is a soft wooded, semi-deciduous tree. This tree has a light grey bark with conspicuous lenticels.
  • The Flowers: The petals are a pale yellow to cream, with a red/pink inner base; 3 leathery outer petals, 3 smaller inner petals, 20-30 mm in diameter.
  • Flower buds: Green and hang down, making flowers difficult to see at times.
  • The Leaves: Alternate, simple, light to dark green, 70-120 mm long, prominent mid vain, distinct smell like green apples when crushed.
  • The Fruit: Round, fleshy fruit 5-15 cm in diameter, immature fruit is green ripening to orange –yellow and turning black after falling from the tree. 100-200 brown seeds similar in size and shape to pumpkin seeds.

References

  • The State of Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries 2007, Pond Apple, Fact Sheet, viewed 20 March 2012
  • Mackay Regional Pest Management Group 2012, Weeds of the Mackay Whitsunday Region, Draft
  • Australian Weeds Committee 2004, Pond Apple, A national program of the States, Territories and the Australian Government, viewed 20 March 2012, http://www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/pondapple/

How do I become involved?

If you have a suspected specimen or if you would like to know more about the project please do not hesitate to contact the Biosecurity Queensland Officer on 07 4967 0602.

Key Contact

 

Name: Emily Wood
Position: Project Officer – Pests and Weeds
Ph: (07) 4945 2321
M: 0419 778 402
E: Emily Wood

Further information

Check out these websites for more information on Pond Apple

Images

Pond Apple

Pond Apple

Pond Apple Leaf

Pond Apple Leaf

Pond Apple Leaves

Pond Apple Leaves

Pond Apple bush

Pond Apple bush

Reliance Creek

Reliance Creek