Extraordinary Plants: Annona

Do not let the unusual appearance of Annona fruits deter you from this tropical delight!  On the surface, they look like pale-green or red stoneaged artichokes, covered in bumpy protrusions.  Inside, you will be delighted by the white creamy flesh, rich and sweet, with numerous brown-black seeds scattered throughout.  (These seeds must be removed before processing the fruit since they contain a toxin.) The custard-like flesh is pleasantly aromatic, with a delicious blend of mild acidity and sweetness. Annona fruits are consumed fresh or processed into refreshing beverages, milk shakes, sherbets and ice creams.

The Cherimoya, native to the tropical highlands of Peru and Ecuador, is often considered to be the finest member of the Annona family.  One of the most widely distributed members of the Annona family is the Sugar Apple, native to Central and South America.  The Atemoya, a natural hybrid of the Sugar Apple and the Cherimoya, is able to withstand more heat than the Cherimoya, and it is slightly more cold resistant than the Sugar Apple.  Bushier, larger, and also deciduous, Atemoyas are attractive trees that may attain heights of 25-30 feet. 

Annonas are very attractive landscaping trees with excellent dessert fruits.  If you are interested in Annona trees, call ECHO’s Nursery Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. or Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at 239.543.3246.