Tropical Soda Apple
Tropical soda apple is an aggressive invader and in North Carolina its presence has been reported in fields used to hold cattle. It is much easier to control an invasive species if we can manage infestations when they are still small. So, please watch out for tropical soda apple and report infestations to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Weed Specialist at 1-800-206-9333.
Tropical soda apple grows as a shrubby herbaceous plant that can grow as high as 6’. The plant’s stems and leaves are covered in prickles. It is distinguished by its small (1” diameter) watermelon-like fruits which appear in the summer. Young fruits are greenish and mottled; ripe fruits are bright yellow. During the summer, the plant also produces small white flowers with 5 petals. The leaves (4 – 8” long and 2.5 – 6” wide) are reminiscent of oak leaves – deeply lobed. They are arranged alternately along the stem.
Fact Sheet: Tropical Soda Apple
Photo credit: Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
Photo Credit: J. Jeffery Mullahey, University of Florida