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Seed Information

Common Name: FRUIT - ATEMOYA
Scientific Name: Annona cherimola x Annona squamosa
Alternative Names: Sugar Apple

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  • Perennial
  • The Atemoya is a hybrid of two fruits - the Sugar-apple (Annona squamosa) and the Cherimoya (Annona cherimola) - which are both native to the American tropics.
  • Atemoya is a deciduous fast-growing, small-to-medium-size tree that can grow up to 7 - 9m.
  • The branches are drooping and the leaves (up to 15 cm in length) are lanceolate and often variable in shape on the same tree.
  • The flowers are 3-4 cm long, with 3 fleshy, pale yellowish-green petals - they are borne singly or in clusters of 2-3 in axils.
  • The fruit is heart-shaped or rounded, generally 10 cm long, up to 9.5 cm wide and can weigh as much as 2.25 kg.
  • It is pale bluish-green or pea-green with an easily bruised, knobby skin.
  • The fragrant flesh is snowy-white with a fine texture, almost solid and contains a few dark brown seeds.
  • The fruits may turn slightly yellow when ripe.
  • Atemoya trees usually do not self-pollinate, hand-pollination is necessary to guarantee superior quality fruits.
  • An atemoya flower, in its female stage, opens between 2:00 and 4:00 pm. and between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm on the following afternoon, the flower converts to its male stage. Atemoya fruits are sometimes misshapen and underdeveloped on one side, as the result of inadequate pollination.
  • In cold and humid climates it releases pollen even though it is sticky.
  • Where the climate is hot and the humidity low at the blooming season, the carpers are short lived and the stigmatic surface soon dries up.
  • Atemoya will grow in any type of soil but will do best in deep, rich loam and a moderate amount of moisture - they like lots of water, but flooding is lethal.
  • Rainy weather during the ripening season, however, may cause the fruits to split.
  • It has a spreading, shallow root system and during the first 2 or 3 years, the trees must be pruned to form a strong frame.
  • Thereafter, only light pruning is needed.
  • No fertilizer is applied until after the trees are well established, since the young roots are very sensitive.
  • Fertilizer can be broadcasted over the root area, the amount gradually increased to 4.5-5.4 kg annually for mature trees.
  • Half is given in spring - a month before flowering - and the other half when the fruit is setting.
  • Irrigation during flowering and fruit setting improves yield and fruit quality.
  • The Atemoya is hardy up to about up to -2C°.
  • The fruits must be clipped from the branch, taking care that the stalk left on the fruit does not protrude beyond the shoulders.
  • Frequent picking is necessary to harvest the fruit at the ideal stage, that is, when creamy lines appear between the knobs.
  • If picked too soon, the fruit will not ripen but will darken and shrivel.
  • A condition called "littleleaf" indicates a zinc deficiency which can be corrected by foliar spraying.

Culinary Uses

  • Atemoya fruit is very juicy, taste slightly sweet and a little tart, reminiscent of a piña colada.
  • The taste also resembles vanilla from its Sugar-apple parent.
  • When ripe, the inedible (toxic) black seeds must be removed before the fruit is scooped out of the 'shell' and eaten.
  • The atemoya, preferably chilled, is one of the most delicious of fruits.
  • It needs no seasoning and may be simply cut in half or quartered and the flesh eaten from the shell with a spoon.
  • Slices or cubes of the pulp may be added to fruit cups, salads or various dessert recipes.
  • Some people blend the pulp with orange juice, lime juice and cream and freeze it as ice cream.
  • Warning - the seeds, like those of all Annona species, are toxic and care should be taken to remove the seeds from the pulp before it is mechanically blended.

Parts Used

  • Fruit - will keep well in a cool, well-ventilated storage for up to 3 weeks - ideal temperature for refrigerated storage is 15C° -25C° - lower temperatures will cause chilling injury
  • The rind may darken before the interior shows any sign of spoilage.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • A 100 g of edible portion of ripe Atemoya fruit contains 94 calories and it is high in vitamin C.
  • It also contains Proteins, Fat, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Ash, Sodium, Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, A-carotene, B-carotene, Cryptoxanthin and Ascorbic Acid.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

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