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Sugar Apple / Custard Apple

Sugar Apple / Custard Apple

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Sugar Apple or Sweetsop (Annona squamosa), an interesting tropical American fruit in the custard apple family (Annonaceae). Soft, ripe sugar apples have a sweet, custard-like pulp containing several shiny seeds. They are a popular Caribbean dessert, eaten raw (preferably chilled) and in fruit salads, ice creams and drinks.

The seeds are acrid and poisonous. Bark, leaves and seeds contain the alkaloid, anonaine. Six other aporphine alkaloids have been isolated from the leaves and stems: corydine, roemerine, norcorydine, norisocarydine, isocorydine and glaucine. Aporphine, norlaureline and dienone may be present also. Powdered seeds, also pounded dried fruits serve as fish poison and insecticides in India. A paste of the seed powder has been applied to the head to kill lice but must be kept away from the eyes as it is highly irritant and can cause blindness. If applied to the uterus, it induces abortion. Heat-extracted oil from the seeds has been employed against agricultural pests. Studies have shown the ether extract of the seeds to have no residual toxicity after 2 days. High concentrations are potent for 2 days and weaken steadily, all activity being lost after 8 days. In Mexico, the leaves are rubbed on floors and put in hen's nests to repel lice.