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Junglesop

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    Other Names: Asumpa, Bombi, Anguto, Tahu, Bobo, Ebambu

    The soft orange flesh of the junglesop, richly flavored similar to mango. (Picture from Wikipedia commons, 2009)

    Scientific name – Anonodium mannii

    Family: Annonaceae

    Synonym: Annona manii

    Anonodium mannii, or Junglesop, is indigenous to Central America. It is abundant in the wild in Congo, Zambia, the Central African Republic, Angola, etc. The junglesop tree can reach heights of 8 to 30 meters and has long leaves that are 20 to 40 centimeters long. Each fruit can weigh up to 4.6 kilograms and is often produced from enormous blooms. The fruit’s unique flavor and acquired taste makes it the most desired in the African community.

    Junglesop has a really distinctive quality. It is the second largest fruit on the planet, following the jackfruit. A single fruit can weigh up to 15 kilograms, while the majority weigh between 4 and 6 kg. It is also a delicious, flavorful fruit.

    In addition, it has been introduced to southern Florida, Hawaii, Malaysia, and northern Queensland, Australia.

    Description:

    A tree of 8-12 m in height.

    Large flowers, 5-8 cm in diameter.

    Fruits are exceptionally enormous, measuring up to 50 centimeters in length and weighing 4-6 kilograms apiece. The rind is brown, leathery, and patterned with raised diamond-shaped bits.

    Utilization:

    In Central Africa, the jungle sop fruit is extremely popular, with individuals paying up to two days’ salary for a single fruit. During the season, individuals organize special expeditions into the forest to obtain this fruit. Inside the brown, leathery peel lies a yellow-orange pulp with a delicate texture. The fruit has a distinct peach-like flavor that ranges from sweet to sour. The genetic patterns have a significant influence in determining the fruit’s flavor. 

    When the fruit is ripe but firm, it is harvested from the tree. It is then stored at home for 4-5 days until it softens. One fruit is sufficient to feed five or six hungry people. Although some fruits appear bland, they are a rich source of vitamin A.

    Cultivation:

    The kind of tree belongs to wild vegetation as Africa is known for its rich natural wild resource it is believed that many generations of this species junglesop would have existed in the African rainforests for many decades.

    Despite its many positive qualities, junglesop has not yet been domesticated and cultivated as an orchard fruit. Almost all fruits exclusively come from plants that grow in the wild. As the tree seems to grow in wild vegetation it can also grow under a poor sunlight. It shows tolerance against cold and other damages caused by wind as it possess large sized leaves.  This is likely due to the fact that there is already a big population of jungle sop trees in the African rainforests and the local population’s needs are readily fulfilled by these trees. A few attempts were made to domesticate this fruit in Congo, but none of them were particularly successful. The emergence of fungal infections is often cited as a cause of this failure.

    When planted, jungle sop trees develop at a rapid rate. These appear to prefer a nutrient-dense, well-drained, and moist soil. As it is an understory tree, it may also thrive in low light conditions. The trees are more resistant to mold and cold than other annonas, but their big leaves make them prone to wind damage.

    The plant is propagated from seeds. It may take approximately 10 years for the seedlings to bear fruit.

    Nutritional Information:

    Per 100 grams of fruit:

    • Protein 2.1 g
    • Fat 0.6 g
    • Carbohydrate 3.5 g
    • Fiber 6 gSodium 14 mg

    Related To: [Annonaceae] Cherimoya, Atemoya, Kepel

    Main Uses: Fruit, Woodwork

    Growth Rate: Fast

    Mature Height/Spread: Can grow to 50′ but is often smaller.

    Flowering/Pollination: Large fleshy flowers, 2-3″ in diameter.

    Tolerance: Unknown.

    Soil/Nutrition: Prefers a rich soil that is well aerated, but also moist.

    Light: Shade to full sun. This is an understory tree in it’s native forests.

    Wind: Large leaves make this species susceptible to wind damage.

    Temperature: Surprisingly cold tolerant, likely equivalent to the soursop, enduring brief frosts.

    Dangers: Seeds possibly toxic.

    Diseases Prone: Fungal diseases are often reported.

    Bearing Age: Many trees will not bear fruit for decades.

    Fruit: Giant fruit, the largest in the annonaceae family. Generally around 15″ long and 4-6 kg. Large fruits are capable of weighing 10-15 kg. Flesh is yellow to orange, and ranges from sweet to sour, depending on ripeness and genetics. It has a very rich flavor, overpowering to some, but generally tastes similar to a mango. Fruits are often disfigured due to inadequate pollination.

    History/Origin: This species is endemic to West and Central Africa, in equatorial regions. It has been reported in Nigeria, Ghana, Gabon and Zaire. It is considered a common jungle species throughout these regions. Despite it’s popularity, it has not been cultivated or developed into a food crop, perhaps because it is so plentiful where it occurs. Usually, certain trees are esteemed for having sweeter, softer fruits, while less desirable (sour) specimens are left to the treetop wildlife.

    It is so well liked in the regions where it occurs, that for example, in the Central African Republic, some people pay up more than one day’s salary for a single large fruit. A fruit of this size is several meals worth of food. In addition to being an important and widely liked fruit in equatorial Africa, it is also a very important staple for wildlife, especially primates.

    Species Observations: Species is surprisingly resilient to adverse conditions, bouncing back from both drought and frost.

    Propogation: By seed; recently, agricultural strains are being selected and developed as a food crop.

    Container Culture: Unknown.

    Medicinal Uses: Unknown.

    Nutritional Information: Per 100 grams of fruit:

    Protein : 2.1 g Fat : 0.6 g Carbohydrate : 3.5 g Fiber : 6 g Sodium : 14 mg

    Preparation / Food: Eaten fresh.

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