Annona senegalensis is also known as Wild Custard-Apple. This species is native and common in savannas throughout tropical Africa. This specie is little-known outside its natural range.
The Annona is usually seen as a shrub under taller trees, and grows throughout the Eastern Province, particularly in the valleys. A. senegalensis is a well-known fruit that is sold in local markets and when eaten fresh, it is said to be one of the preferred fruits of Africa.
This is a sprawling shrub or a tree that can grow up to 20 ft (6 m) high with smooth, silvery bark. When the tree gets older it will be rough and thick, with grey-orange young hairy branches.
The deciduous leaves are aromatic, alternate and blue-green above. They are oval, 3-7 in (7.5-17.5 cm) long, 1 1/2 - 4 in (4-10 cm) wide, prominently veined and hairy beneath with a peculiar smell when crushed.
The flowers, borne singly or in pairs in the leaf axils on stalks 1 to 1 1/2 in (2.5-4 cm) long, are clasped by a 3-parted calyx and have 3 triangular, thick, waxy, velvety, whitish outer petals, 3 pale-yellow inner petals, and numerous stamens. The Annona blooms from October through December, but along the coast it flowers during December through February.
Typically compound, the pineapple-scented fruit is smooth but with the carpers distinctly outlined on the surface and is yellow or orange when ripe. The solid, rounded oval, edible fruit resembles that of its close relative, the cultivated custard apple. The fruit is fleshy, rounded, up to 4 cm across with overlapping scales and many seeds within the soft pulp. The fruit should be picked while still green to avoid damage by birds, and then kept for ripening.
The fruit pulp is edible and said to have an apricot-like flavor. Many people say that it is one of the best of the indigenous fruits in parts of tropical Africa. It is much appreciated in the wild by shepherds. According to Irvine, the unopened flower buds are used in soup and to season native dishes; and the leaves are eaten. The fruit matures during the long rains and is edible from January through March.
9-10. (-5c/25f, 1c/35f). This tree tends to favor sandy soils, but grows well in a wide variety of soils. It is very demanding of light so it should be place in full sun. The wild custard apple is limited to tropical areas up to an elevation of 5,000 ft (1,500 m) and thrives best where its roots can reach water. Annona senegalensis remains leafless for several months in the dry season