ANNONA (Annona ssp.)

It is not Manjarblanco (white delicacy), although it is a delicacy and white […] as it tastes delicate and delicious and according to some it is the best fruit of the Indies.

José Acosta (1590) - ‘Historia natural y moral de las Indias’

Annonas, custard apples and soursops are small tropical trees or shrubs from the Annonaceae family. The genus Annona includes approximately 200 recognised species, most originating in South America and the West Indies, and some native to Africa. The cultivated species are today distributed worldwide, mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. Known as a food plant and consumed in the Andes in pre-Columbian times, the fruits of Annona cherimola Mill. were introduced to Spain by returning explorers, and it later spread to southern Europe. Several cultivated species are commercially important and others are consumed locally.

The fruit is eaten fresh or processed into juices, ice cream, yoghurts or sweets. The seeds have a high oil content and have potential for industrial exploitation in the production of biodiesel. The leaves, roots, bark, fruits and seeds have various antibacterial, cytotoxic, antiparasitic and pesticide properties.