Pond apple

Pond apple is a declared Class A and Class C weed and a Weed of National Significance.

Go to the Weeds of National Significance website for more information.

Another name for this plant is Annona glabra.

If you think you may have seen pond apple, or have this weed on your property, do not attempt to control it. Contact the Weed Management Branch immediately for assistance.

Pond apple - infestation 

Identification

You should use the following information as a guide. There may be other plants or weeds that look similar.

If you are unsure, contact the Weed Management Branch.

You can also get the pond apple fact sheet (242.9 kb).

Habit

These features describe the habit of this plant:

  • small tree
  • usually 3m to 6m tall
  • occasionally up to 15m tall.

Pond apple - habit 

Stems and branches

These features can identify the stems and branches:

  • grey bark
  • usually a single trunk
  • multiple-stemmed plants common when several seedlings germinate together and stems fuse together giving the appearance of a single trunk.

Pond apple - stems and branches 

Leaves

These features can identify the leaves:

  • alternate leaves
  • 7cm to 12cm long
  • prominent midrib
  • darker green on the upper surface (depending on age) and paler on the underside.

Pond apple - leaves 

Flowers

These features can identify the flowers:

  • creamy white to light yellow
  • 2cm to 3cm in diameter
  • Not easily seen on the tree
  • three leathery outer petals and three smaller inner petals
  • red inner base.

Pond apple - flower 

Fruit and seeds

These features can identify the fruit and seeds:

  • edible fruit
  • looks like a smooth-skinned custard apple
  • similar in shape to a mango
  • 5cm to 15cm wide
  • contains about 140 pumpkin-like seeds.

Pond apple - fruit and seed 

Impact

Pond apple can have all of the following impacts:

  • create dense stands that compete with and replace native vegetation
  • create an undesirable habitat for wildlife by replacing food and shelter
  • establish in undisturbed areas, making it difficult to locate
  • thrive along fence lines, farm drains and creeks
  • spoil the appearance and landscape of native areas.

Habitat and distribution

Pond apple is native to the swamplands of North, Central and South America and West Africa. It was introduced to Australia as grafting stock for the custard apple.

Pond apple has invaded 2,000 hectares of the wet tropical region in North Queensland and individual plants are located in northern New South Wales. 

It was was found in Darwin rural area in 2010 and in Millner in December 2012. 

However the most recent finding in February 2013 is of greatest concern with more than 100 plants growing on multiple properties in Howard Springs. 

These properties back onto a drainage line that flows into the Howard River catchment. 

In March 2013 a pond apple plant was found on a property in Berry Springs following a report by a member of the public.

All known pond apple plants are being destroyed and further surveys of the surrounding areas are being undertaken by Weed Management Branch staff.

Pond apple could potentially infest all Top End waterways. 

It is now one of the worst weeds in Australia as it is very invasive, has a high risk of spreading and has environmental and economic impacts. It is able to grow in the same environment as mangroves. It can tolerate flooding and grows well on riverbanks, in disturbed wetlands and in rainforests.

Control

If you think you may have seen pond apple, or have this weed on your property, don't attempt to control it. Contact the Weed Management Branch immediately for assistance.

Pond apple is on the alert list for environmental weeds. 

This is a list of weeds that threaten biodiversity and cause other environmental damage.

Last updated: 27 June 2017