Common Name: Cherimoya, chirimoya, custard apple
Scientific Name: Annona cherimola
Climate: Cold and temperate
Plant Description: The cherimoya grows quickly and can reach a height of seven to eight meters. The stem has a thick bark. The leaves are oval and grow alternately on the branches.
The flowers are very aromatic, with six petals, they are yellow. They grow solitary or in groups of two or three.
The fruit is an aggregate of several attached fruits. The skin is thin and delicate. It is green on the outside, full of sections that look like scales. The interior of the fruit is white and fleshy, and contains many shiny black seeds.
Cultivation: It is a tree that needs full sunlight. It requires regular watering or moderate rainfall. Before planting, the ground should be prepared by applying manure to maintain soil fertility and promote root expansion.
It is sown in spring and once the seed has germinated, it is a fast growing tree that needs little care. Although it consumes quite a lot of water, it is important not to saturate the soil around it.1 The tree must be pruned to keep it at a height of about two meters to facilitate harvesting.
Uses:It is consumed as fresh fruit. It is very nutritious with high concentrations of vitamins B and C. However, it is a fruit with low energy density since it has few calories in relation to its volume. Therefore, it is ideal for people with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
It is an easily digestible fruit and so it is suitable for convalescent people, the elderly, growing children and pregnant women.
It is abundant in potassium and regulates blood pressure. It contains magnesium and calcium that strengthen bones and muscles. It also has iron that helps fight anemia.2
Some substances are extracted from its seeds that are used to make products to treat migraine, gout, stones and lice. They are also used for the preparation of insecticides. In rural areas they pulverize them, mix them with ash and pass them through a sieve to achieve this product.
Pests and Diseases: Pests include the fruit fly and the cottony mealybug that invades stems and fruits, although the cherimoya is not frequently prone to diseases. The fruit fly can be avoided with early harvesting. Neem oil is effective in fighting the mealybug.3
En español: Chirimoya