The Problem with Pond Apple
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 is also Restricted Matter – Category 3 under the Biosecurity Act 2014. This means that it cannot be distributed or disposed of in any way.
The Pond Apple Tree
- Young Pond Apple Tree: the typical height is 3-6 metres; however they can grow up to 15 metres.
- Pond Apple is a soft wooded, semi-deciduous tree. This tree has a light grey bark with conspicuous lenticels.
- 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 are green and hang down, making flowers difficult to see at times.
- The Leaves are alternate, simple, light to dark green, 70-120 mm long, prominent mid vain, distinct smell like green apples when crushed.
- The Fruit is round, and fleshy 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.