Friday, July 15, 2016

Soursop




Soursop, related to the cherimoya, is a mid-sized tree reaching about 25 feet tall. It is best propagated from seed which will germinate in 15-30 days. The fruit, which can weigh up to 10 or 15 lbs, is often used in making sherbets and other drinks.

The tree grows rapidly and begins to bear in 3 to 5 years. Unfortunately, a normal crop for young trees is only 12 to 24 fruit per tree. When producing fruit, this tree is particular about its environment.  It has been observed in tropical countries that soursop trees grown in very humid areas often grow well but bear only a few fruit, usually of poor quality. Most of their flowers and young fruit fall because of a fungus called anthracnose, which does exists in Hawai`i.  In Puerto Rico, the tree is said to prefer an altitude between 800 and 1,000 ft with moderate humidity.



Drought stress is another reason for fruit drop. Mulching is recommended to avoid drying of the shallow, fibrous root system during hot, dry weather. Dry conditions, rainy conditions and high humidity all contribute to poor production. In some areas of the world hand pollination is recommended. There may not be ample insects around to pollinate, and therefore, fruit production would be low.

Now for some humorous folklore: in Materia Medica of British Guiana, the cure for intoxication is “break soursop leaves in water, squeeze a couple of limes therein, get a drunken man and rub his head well with the leaves and water and give him a little of the water to drink and he gets as sober as a judge in no time."