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Thursday, 19 February 2009

Plant of the Week

This week, the Plant of the Week is........................

Annona Cherimola - the Custard Apple

The custard apple is believed to be a native tree of the inter-andean valleys of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, and has been successfully cultivated in Israel. It is a dense, fast-growing, evergreen tree, erect but low branched and somewhat shrubby or spreading; ranging from 5 to 9 m in height.

The tree bears fragrant flowers with three outer, greenish, fleshy, oblong petals and three inner pinkish petals. The fruits are 10-20 cm long and about 10cm in width, with a sub-acid flavour. Mark Twain called the cherimola fruit “the most delicious fruit known to men”.

The cherimola is sub-tropical to mild-temperate. It can tolerate light frosts, and prefers dry environments with long, dry summers, although it grows best at an annual precipitation range of 1250-2500 mm. It prefers soils of pH from 6.5 to 7.6, and is somewhat calcium demanding.

It is well suited to the calcate, limey soil of Bustan Qaraaqa, and the temperature range, but will require some irrigation from the early spring to the beginning of summer.

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