Discover the Power of Annona muricata: Unlock the Secrets of this Extraordinary Fruit!
The custard apple tree, Annona muricata, produces edible fruit known as soursop due to its mildly acidic flavor when ripe. Originally from the Caribbean, India, and Central America, it has become widely grown and, in some areas, an invasive species in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.
In Indonesia, it is called sirsak and serves as the primary host plant for tailed jay caterpillars (Graphium agamemnon), which feed on its leaves and pupate underneath them.
Annona muricata trees are small, evergreen, and can reach heights of up to 30 feet (9.1 meters). The leaves are oblong to oval, 3 to 7 centimeters wide and 8 to 16 centimeters long, with a lustrous dark green color and hairless on top, lighter and barely haired to hairless underneath.
The flower stalks are woody, 2 to 5 millimeters long, each bearing one to two flowers appearing opposite the leaves or close to the leaf stalk. The individual flower stalks are thick, hairless or sparsely haired, and about 15 to 20 millimeters tall, with smaller, densely haired bractlets near the base.
Flowers have thick, yellowish petals. Outer petals are broadly ovate, not overlapping, 2.8 cm to 3.3 cm long and 2.1 cm to 2.5 cm wide, tapering to a point with a heart-shaped base. Inner petals overlap, about 2.5 cm to 2.8 cm long, 2 cm wide, sharply angled and tapering at the base.
Stamens are 4.5 mm long, wedge-shaped with unequal anther hollows. Sepals are thick and non-overlapping. Carpels are linear, 1-ovuled, with reddish-brown hairs. Fruits are dark green, prickly, ovoid, up to 30 cm long, with juicy, acidic, whitish flesh and aromatic scent.