Annonaceae family, also called custard apple family
is a family of flowering plants consisting of trees, shrubs or rarely woody lianas.
With about 2300 to 2500 species and more than 130 genera,
it is the largest family in the Magnoliales. Only four genera, Annona, Rollinia, Uvaria and Asimina produce edible fruits, anona.
Its type genus is Annona. The family is concentrated in the tropics, with few species found in temperate regions. About 900 species are Neotropical, 450 are Afrotropical, and the other species Indomalayan.
Compared to the species from the Neotropic area, very little is known about the species from Indomalaya. Only a few attempts have been made for the phylogeny-based reclassification of the family, and those have been hampered by the Neotropic bias in the available information, with the most of the work having been done on informal genus groups.
Guatteria with its approximately 265 species is the largest genus of Annonaceae and might be broken into three small genera based on molecular characters from multiple locations.
Tribe Saccopetaleae is another group of Annonaceae that is awaiting review as recent molecular studies suggest that this tribe is not monophyletic at all.
Mostly tropical, deciduous
trees and shrubs, with aromatic bark, leaves, and flowers. Stems, stalks and leaves: Bark is fibrous and aromatic. Pith
fine tangential bands; divided by partition or partitions to divided by thin partitions with openings in them.
- Leaves are alternate, simple, without stipules (the mini-leafs that grow by the leaf stalks), and have leaf stalks. Leaf blades consists of several leaflets, or separate portions, arranged on each side of a common leaf stalk separated by veins. Flowers: Flower stalks start from the axil or sometimes from leaf scars on old wood and sometimes from leaf on new shoots. The family can have solitary flowers or small bundles (fascicles) that grow from a flower stalk (peduncle). Flowers are bisexual and rarely unisexual. The apex of the flower stalk, from which the organs of the flower grow might become enlarged, elevated or flat. The outer parts have the sepals, petals, and stamens inserted below the pistil and do not overlap. Usually two to four persistent sepals that are individual or connected at the base. Six petals in two unequal whorls of three with larger outer whorls and fleshier inner whorls that might share the same nectar glands, or six to fifteen petals, with impressed veins on their inner face. Ten to twenty (or many more) stamens inserted below the pistil, spirally arranged and forming ball or flat-topped mass with short and stout Filaments and linear to oblong anthers which face outward and are open longitudinally. Each flower can have from one to many pistils.Fruits and seeds: From each pistil comes a part of the fruit and one seed. Fruits are a collection of fleshy seed sacs (syncarps) which makes them a berry. This family can make one to twelve syncarps per flower. Seeds are one to many per pistil; have a fleshy and usually brightly colored cover, have nutritive tissue surrounding the embryo and are oily.
Food: The large, edible, pulpy fruits of some members typically called Anona
by Spanish and Portuguese speaking people who lived where they grew natively, include species of Annona
(custard apple, cherimoya, and soursop), Asimina
(the biriba).Medical: The bark, leaves and roots of some species are used in folk medicines
research has found antifungal
, and especially cytostatic
capability of some chemical constituents of the leaves and bark. A large number of chemical compounds, including flavonoids
, have been extracted from the seeds and many other parts of these plants. Flavonoids and alkaloids have shown antibacterial properties, and have been used for treatment of medical conditions, such as skin disease
, intestinal worms
of the eye. Many species are used in traditional folk medicine, however pharmaceutical products have been developed for the international market. Acetogenins
are thought to have anti-HIV
effects. A wide variety of products have been developed and are available for cancer treatment.Insecticides: Flavonoids and alkaloids contained in the leafs and bark of several species of the family have shown insecticidal properties.Other: Some species of the family also have aromatic oil
and are used for perfumes
- The strong bark is used for carrying burdens in the Amazon Rainforest and for wooden implements, such as tool handles and pegs. The wood is valued as firewood.
- Yellow and brown dyes.
- Some species are also grown as ornamental plants, especially Polyalthia longifolia pendula.