Annona squamosa Linn.

Family : Annonaceae.





Habitat A native to South America and the West Indies; now cultivated throughout India.

English Custard Apple, Sugar Apple, Sweet-sop.

Ayurvedic Gandagaatra, Sitaa phala

Unani Sharifaa.

Siddha/Tamil Sitaaphalam, Atta.



Assamese Atta-kothal, Ata-phal, Ata-Kothal, Atlas, Ata-kathal, Katal, Atloch, Sitaphal
Beng Ata
Bengali Ata phol
Eng Custard apple
English Name : Custard apple, Sugar apple
Hin Sharifa, Shareefa, Seethaphal
Hindi Name : Sharifa शरीफ़ा, Sitaphal सीताफल
Indian Languages Aathi, Athamaram, Amiithunka, Seethapazham
Kannada Sitaphala, Sitapala
Manipuri Sitaphal
Others Ata kathal, Aathi, Sugar Apple, Ata phal, Custard Apple, Rahmapfel, Matikothal (Ass.), Seethapazham, Athamaram, Amiithunka, Sweetsop
Sanskrit Name : Agrimakhya, Gandhagatra, Atripya, Krishnabija, Sitaphalam
Tamil Name : Cintamaram, Nilampuccitta, சீதாபழம் Sitapalam, Seetha pazham
Telugu Name : Ganda gathram, Seethapandu, Sitaphalamu


Shrub or small trees, somewhat bushy, about 3-5 m tall. Bark dark brown, thin, fissured and fibrous, branches slightly pubescent when young, glabrous when mature. Leaves simple, alternate, ovate, oblong-lanceolate to oblong-elliptic, 8-20 x 2.5-7 cm across, base acute, margin entire, apex obtuse to acute, coriaceous, membranous, dark green, glabrous above, paler glaucous beneath, lateral veins 6-10 on either side of the midrib, almost parallel, impressed above, prominent on the veins and more prominent on the midrib beneath, reticulate veinlets fine and close, petiole, pale green, about 0.5-1.5 cm long. Inflorescence usually solitary or consisting of 1-4 flowers, leaf opposed or extra axillary, pubescent when young, glabrous when mature. Flowers bisexual, subcapitate, about 2.5-3 cm long, pedicels slender, minutely pubescent about 1-3 cm long. Sepals 3, broadly ovate, apex acute or shallow acuminate, pubescent outside, thick, greenish white, about 2-3 x 0.3-0.5 cm across. Petals 6, outer whorl 3, subequal, ovate, apex obtuse, somewhat triangular, minutely pubescent outside, greenish yellow outside, yellow glabrous reddish near the base inside, keeled inside, about 1.5 x 3 cm across, inner petals if present minute, squamose, triangular or ovate, keeled outwards, reddish. Stamens many, about 1 mm long, anthers thecae narrow, with connectives of ovoid top. Carpels many, subglobose or ovoid, subconnate, minutely pubescent, about 1 mm long, stigma oblong, stigma entire. Ripe carpels, broadly globose or ovoid in fruit, fragrant, tuberculate with rounded tips outside, glaucous, slightly arolate with white pulp inside, about 6-13 cm in diameter, puberulous, stalk stout, about about 2 cm long, Seeds many, black with dark brown patches, glossy, slightly flattened, arillate.

A moderate sized erect deciduous tree with a rounded or spreading crown and trunk 10 to 14 inch thick. Height ranges from 4.5-10 m. The ill-smelling leaves are deciduous, alternate, oblong or narrow-lanceolate, 10-20 cm long and 2-5 cm wide, with conspicuous veins. Flowers, in drooping clusters, are fragrant, slender, with 3 outer fleshy, narrow petals about 2-3 cm long; light-green externally and pale-yellow with a dark-red or purple spot on the inside at the base. The compound fruit is about 8-16 cm in diameter, may be symmetrically heart-shaped, lopsided, or irregular; or nearly round, or oblate, with a deep or shallow depression at the base. The skin, thin but tough, may be yellow or brownish when ripe. There is a thick, cream-white layer of custard like, somewhat granular, flesh beneath the skin surrounding the concolorous moderately juicy segments, in many of which there is a single, hard, dark-brown or black seed about 1-2 cm long



Leaves—insecticide (seed powder, mixed with leaf juice is used for removing lice from scalp). Seeds—abortifacient. Root— purgative, used in blood dysentery. Fruit—invigorating, sedative to heart, antibilious, antiemetic, expectorant. Dried, powdered unripe fruits—used for treating ulcers. Ripe fruit made into paste with betel leaves is applied to tumour to hasten suppuration. Leaves, bark, unripe fruit—strongly astringent; used for diarrhoea and dysentery.

A fraction of total alkaloid from roots exhibits antihypertensive, antispasmodic, antthistaminic and bronchodilatory properties. Leaves contain a cardiotonic alkaloid, quinoline. Squamone and bullatacinone were selectively cytotoxic to human breast carcinoma.

In Cuban medicine, leaves are taken to reduce uric acid levels.




Medicinal plants of India ; Ayurveda

Encyclopedia of Indian Medicinal Plants/Herbs mainly using in Ayurveda with good quality pictures and information like therapeutic usage of Medicinal Plants, cultivation, morphology, habitat, flower characters, Chemical content, parts used, research works etc.

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