Pond apple (Annona glabra)

PROHIBITED MATTER: If you see this plant report it. Call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline 1800 680 244

Pond apple is a very hardy, semi-deciduous woody tree that can form extremely dense thickets maturing into dark forests.

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How does this weed affect you?

Pond apple is a very hardy, semi-deciduous woody tree that can form extremely dense thickets maturing into dark forests. This aggressive invader usually grows to a height of between 3 and 6 m but can grow as tall as 15 m.

Pond apple was introduced to Australia as a salt- and water-tolerant grafting stock for the closely related, commercially produced, custard apple (Annona reticulata). It is still used as a rootstock for custard apple in northern Queensland.

The commercial impact of this environmental weed is increasing as it is spreading into creeks, along fence lines, farm drains and dams on sugar cane and cattle enterprises. Pond apple is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts.

Where is it found?

Pond apple is a native of North, Central and South America and West Africa and thrives in areas that are moist and sunlit. It is found in a wide range of disturbed and undisturbed wetlands and rainforests, including streams, riverbanks, wetlands, sedgelands, mangrove communities and high tide zones on beaches. It is not prevalent in areas that are permanently flooded or too shady.

In Australia, the areas at immediate risk from pond apple are the estuaries and floodplains of north-eastern Cape York. It has spread through much of the wet tropics in northern Queensland (mostly between Ingham and Cooktown but also south to Mackay and north to some of the Torres Strait islands). It also has the potential to invade the Top End of the Northern Territory and the thin coastal strip from the tip of Cape York to Bundaberg in Queensland. There are currently no known infestations in New South Wales (NSW).

Distribution map

How does it spread?

Pond apple produces extremely large quantities of seed. The seeds are spread by water and animals. Both the fruit and seed float in water and the seeds can remain viable for some time in fresh, brackish or sea water. When the fruits are eaten by animals, the seeds can be dispersed long distances e.g. 1–2 km by cassowaries and as far as 10 km by feral pigs. Disturbances (natural e.g. canopy gaps created by storms or cyclones; or human-made e.g. land reclamation activities that reduce native vegetation) can enable pond apple to germinate and invade.

What does it look like?

Pond apple can be confused with native mangroves as superficially they look similar and are often found growing together. Pond apple plants are usually single-stemmed with grey bark. When seedlings germinate together, they can form multiple-stemmed plants that can fuse together and appear single-stemmed.

Key identification features

  • Leaves (7–12 cm) are alternate with a prominent midrib. The upper surface is light- to dark green, depending on age. The underside of the leaf is paler.
  • Flowers are small, creamy white to light yellow (2–3 cm in diameter) and not easily seen on the tree. There are three leathery outer petals and three smaller inner petals with a red inner base.
  • Fruit (5–15 cm diameter) is edible and smooth-skinned (similar in shape to a custard apple).
  • Seeds look similar to pumpkin seeds, and each fruit contains approximately 140 seeds.

Habitat

Pond apple can grow in the same environments as native mangroves due to its ability to tolerate flooded areas and salt water.

Acknowledgements

Adapted by AnDi Communications from the CRC for Australian Weed Management Weed Management Guide: Pond apple.

Reviewed by Rod Ensbey. Edited by Elissa van Oousterhout, Birgitte Verbeek.

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Control

Your local council weeds officer will assist with identification, control information and removal and eradication of pond apple. Infestations can be spread by inappropriate control activities.

Herbicide options

WARNING - ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Fluroxypyr 200 g/L (Starane™)
Rate: 500 mL to 1 L per 100 L water
Comments: Spot spray. Do not treat plants growing in a body of water.
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Fluroxypyr 333 g/L (Starane™ Advanced)
Rate: 300 to 600 mL per 100 L water
Comments: Spot spray. Do not treat plants growing in a body of water.
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: One part product to 50 parts water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: One part product to 1.5 parts water
Comments: Cut scrape and paint
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: One part product to 9 parts water
Comments: Splatter gun
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: One part product to 20 parts water
Comments: Wipe onto leaves. Do not treat plants growing in a body of water.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Brush-off®)
Rate: 10 - 20 g per 100 L water plus surfactant
Comments: Spot spray. Do not treat plants growing in a body of water.
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Brush-off®)
Rate: 10 g per 1 L of water plus surfactant
Comments: Wipe onto leaves
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High


Fluroxypyr 333 g/L (Starane™ Advanced)
Rate: 900 mL per 100 L of diesel
Comments: Basal bark: Plants up to 20 cm basal diameter. Do not treat plants growing in a body of water.
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
All of NSW Prohibited Matter
A person who deals with prohibited matter or a carrier of prohibited matter is guilty of an offence. A person who becomes aware of or suspects the presence of prohibited matter must immediately notify the Department of Primary Industries

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 or send an email to weeds@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Reviewed 2018