soursop // guanabana

order: magnoliales
family: annonaceae
genus: annona
species: muricata

First Story

9 september 2014

plant with 2 side branches in september 2014.

I must say that I'm very surprised that I haven't written this entry until now, considering that the seed had been planted in early 2013 and by the following winter I already fell in love with its foliage. Soursops are also called "durian belanda" (meaning "dutch durian" in malay language) in Malaysia, so called because the dutch first brought it in from Central America, where it is known as guanabana.

The delicious fruit can grow into the size of a pineapple or a lot of times also bigger. Although the fruit may look intimidating to handle at first, if you touch it, you know the spines are soft and completely harmless. Its skin feels like a piece of leather, which you can tear open and separate from the flesh easily. The flesh is actually many seed-covering pulps that are nicely distributed around the fruits central axis. The fruits are usually picked when ripe and cannot be kept for long. Once opened, it has to be eaten within a day, as it ferments very quickly. I usually like to chill it in the fridge prior to serving. Its white pulps make really tasty drink too.

Seeds have a shiny dark cover, similar to but not as rounded as those of lychee or longan. If the cover is removed, there is a white embryo inside looking like a brain. Save some seeds to start new plants if you like. I would rather save a few too many than too few, because with me the germination rate was rather low. But maybe if I had done scarification on the seeds, the result would have been very different.

Once the seeds strike, they won't be terribly difficult to raise. The tree itself stays rather small despite the large size of its leaves and fruits. Leaves feel leathery and are somewhat shiny as well. When crushed, they give off sort of a sour smell like guava fruit, not unattractive. (I discovered this as I accidently knocked over a bottle of water which landed on the plant.) In fact the leaves can also be used to brew tea. I haven't tried it yet, but as soon as I have, I will report how I like it.

Soursop plant has a moderate need for light. It can tolerate and in fact also appreciate some shade from very hot sun. If summer nights are not so warm, I would rather keep it indoor in a bright room so it can grow faster.

leftmost: the soursop "womb" that carried my plant's embryo in 2013.

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