The Florida Pond Apple
The Pond Apple
Photo credit: Christopher Hind

 

The Endangered Plants of Florida

 

 

The Pond Apple
Annona glabra

 

Florida, La Florida, as it was named by Spanish explorer

Ponce De Leon, in the early 1500's, means Land of the Flowers.

We certainly do attempt to live up to the name!


The Pond Apple

Also called the Alligator Apple, Custard Apple,

or Monkey Apple, by any name,

the Pond Apple seems to be enjoyed

 by the Alligators in the Everglades.

 

The tree is a favorite resting place for the Wood Stork,

Snail Kite, Great Blue Heron, Great Egrets and other

large water birds who occupy the tops of the tree,

while the smaller birds sit on the lower branches.

Is this a swamp pecking order?

 

This very hardy tree ranges between 25 - 35 feet and

the fruit, which does resemble an Apple, is about 5 inches.

Although the Fruit is edible, it has a strong narcotic taste.

The flower is a beautiful, tulip shaped yellow blossom.

 

The Pond Apple, which grows wild in the Everglades, is quite

aggressive and is often referred to as an invasive weed.

It grows best in swamps and likes sea water,

and obviously cannot tolerate dry soil.

Everglades Pond Apple
Everglades Pond Apple
Photo credit: State Archives of Florida
Mary Lou Norwood - 1980

 

The Ancestral Habitat of the Pond Apple was

the South Shore of Lake Okeechobee,

where it again may find a place to call home,

as thousands have recently been replanted in

multiple locations hoping to give a Florida

Native on the brink, the chance at a new life.

 

Overseas, the Pond Apple has become a huge

problem for Australia's Mangroves.

Yet, in Florida, this so-called weed, provides food

and shelter for so many, like Raccoons, Birds

and Squirrels, as well as a safe haven for

 the critically Endangered Okeechobee Gourd.

Meanwhile, its seeds are in medicinal studies for

potential benefits in Leukemia and other Cancers.

Pond Apple
Pond Apple
Annona glabra
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr

 

There are over 55 Endangered or Threatened plants in Florida,

and they are all conveniently listed here:

Florida's Federally Listed Plant Species

 


Places to learn more:

 

Exchange Law/Miami.edu

Pond Apple Wetlands Restoration

 

Florida Native Plant Society

Ecosystems of Florida

 

IRC

Pond Apple

 

SFWMD Newsletter

Greater Everglades

 

UF
50 Common Native Plants

 


 

Walking with the Alligators

Write to Gator Woman

gatorwoman3 at centurylink.net

 

 

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Last edited August 10, 2017

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