Previous Page  |  Next Page  |  Back to Table of  Contents

Taxonomy

Plant taxonomists generally agree that there are fourteen species of the Annonaceae family native to the United States mainland. These include nine Asimina species (see Table 1 for descriptions of Asimina species and Table 2 for their nomenclature), two Deeringothamnus species (Kral, 1960; Kral, 1983), and three Annona species (Small, 1913; Wunderlin, 1982). Recent taxonomic descriptions maybe found in works by Kral (1983) and Godfrey (1988) and need not be repeated here. Asimina triloba is the species possessing the most economically promising fruit; however, other species may prove quite useful as ornamentals, food plants for wild game, sources of genes for the improvement of A. triloba, and sources of chemicals used in the manufacture of insecticides. William Bartram, the famous 18th century explorer, described the fruit of A. incarna as having a very delicious yellow pulp. Fruit of other species are generally described as being edible but not pleasant.

Bowden (1948) found all species except A. longifolia (which wasn't included in his study) to contain (2N=2X=) 18 chromosomes. Commercially important tropical "cousins" of Asimina are placed in the genus Annona and usually contain (2N=2X=) 16 chromosomes (Bowden, 1948).