Sunday, July 26, 2009
Custard Apple (Annona reticulata)
Custard apple is the fruit of the tree Annona reticulata. This tree is a small deciduous or semi-evergreen tree sometimes reaching 10 metres (33 ft) tall and a native of the tropical New World that prefers low elevations, and a warm, humid climate. It also occurs as feral populations in many parts of the world including Southeast Asia, Taiwan, India, Australia, and Africa. It is a shrub or small tree that can reach 6 to 8 meters tall.
How to grow
The custard apple does best in low-lying, deep, rich soil with ample moisture and good drainage. It grows to full size on oolitic limestone in southern Florida and runs wild in light sand and various other types of soil in the New and Old World tropics but is doubtless less productive in the less desirable sites. It requires a tropical or sub-tropical climate. Below 10°C it will shed leaves. cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. The tree requires sufficient water (rainall over 700mm); during drought it hardly produces fruits. Regular watering is essentail. The custard apple can be propagated readily from seeds; the seedlings begin producing fruit when 4 to 5 years of age. USDA: 10-11
It taste sweet and good to eat. It is widely used to make drink and smoothie. It is an excellent source of vitamin C . It also contains potassium, Vitamin B6, dietary fiber and folic acid.
Custard apple serves as an expectorant, stimulant, coolant and haematinic and is even useful in treating anemia.
The unripe fruit has been used to assist against diarrhea and dysentery. The tree bark is used for skin and mucosae medicines and the seed bark contains useful tannins and astringents. The leaves are believed to have healing properties and have been used against tumors and cancers. The bark has been used on gums to relieve toothaches.