Growth Habit: Introduced in 1912 as grafting stock for custard apple, Pond Apple can grow to about 12-15 metres in height. Usually single-trunked, however seedlings can grow in clumps giving the appearance of a multi-stemmed plant. Stems are covered in a thin grey bark. Young plants can have swollen based stems, while mature plants can have slightly buttressed roots. During late winter-spring the leaves turn from green to yellow making the plant easier to spot.
Type of Plant: Pond Apple is a semi-deciduous tree.
Flowers: Pond Apple can reach reproductive maturity by two years. The pale yellow to cream flower, with a red inner base, has a diameter of about 2-3cm. The flower is quite distinct with 3 outer petals and 3 inner petals.
Fruit/Seed: From about March to April fruit from the trees falls. This spherical shaped fruit, similarly shaped like a mango, is about 5-15cm in diameter. Once fallen from the tree the fruit turns from green to yellow then black. Each fruit can hold 100 or more pumpkin like seeds that are about 1cm in length.
Dispersal: Both fruits and seed can float and remain viable in fresh, brackish or salt water for many months. Once seeds have established in a wet or moist environment, they grow quite rapidly.
Distribution: From the waterways and wetlands of tropical Queensland between Ingham and Cooktown, to as far south as Mackay and north to Temple Bay in Cape York Peninsula, Pond Apple is invading banks of creeks and rivers, wetlands, mangrove communities and high tide litter zones.
Status: Pond Apple is a Weed of National Significance.
- Potential to invade the estuaries and floodplains of the north eastern side of Cape York Peninsula
- A serious threat to areas of Melaleuca wetlands and Heritiera littoralis mangrove communities.
- Its competitive nature can cause a monoculture forest of Pond Apple
- Due to its invasive manner it can effect the biodiversity of an area especially threatening wetland and riparian ecosystems
- Pond Apple seedlings in heavy numbers can reduce the germination of native species
- Pond Apple can survive excessive drainage of areas which in turn kills melaleuca trees
- Restrict stock access
Information referenced from “Queensland Government, Department of Natural Resources Pest Fact No PP58.”