Annona cherimola

Annona cherimola

Originally called Chirimuya by the people who lived where it was growing in the Andes of South America, Annona cherimola is an edible fruit (Cherimoya) bearing species of the genus Annona from the family Annonaceae is now widely cultivated mostly for its sweet fruits that share the name Custard-apple with others in its family.

Common names

  • cherimoya, custard-apple, chirimoyo, momona, kelemoio
  • chérimolier, chérimole, chérimoyer, corossol du Pérou
  • Cherimoya, cherimolia, cherimoyabaum, Perúanischer fraschenbaum, Chirimoya, Chirimoyabaum, Jamaikapfel, Peruanischer Fraschenbaum, Rahmapfel, Zuckerannone
  • anona (Portugal) or atemóia, cherimóia, anona do Chile, cabeça de negro, chirimólia, fruta do conde (Brasil)
  • chirimoyo, anón, chirimorrinón, chirimoya, chirimoya del Perú
  • チェリモア, チェリモヤ
  • Cerimolia
  • Аннона шеримоя, Черимоя, Черимойя
  • mtomoko, mtopetope


Annona cherimola is a fairly dense, fast-growing, woody, briefly deciduous but mostly evergreen low branched, spreading tree or shrub to tall.Stems and leaves: Mature branches are sappy and woody; young branches and twigs have a matting of short, fine, rust colored hairs.

Leathery leaves to long to wide mostly elliptic, rounded at the ends and pointed near the leaf stalk. When young, covered with soft, fine, tangled, rust colored hairs. When mature, hairs only along the veins on the undersurface. Tops hairless and a dull medium green with paler veins, backs velvety, dull grey-green with raised pale green veins. New leaves are whitish below.

Leaves are single and alternate, 2-ranked attached to the branches with stout to long and densely hairy leaf stalks.Flowers: Very pale green, fleshy flowers long, with very strong fruity odor, each with three outer, greenish, fleshy, oblong, downy petals and 3 smaller, pinkish inner petals with yellow or brown finely matted hairs outside, whitish with purple spot and many stamens on the inside. They appear on the branches opposite to the leaves, solitary or in pairs or groups of three, on flower stalks that are covered densely with fine rust colored hairs, to long. Buds to long, to wide at the base.Fruits and reproduction: Large green conical or heart-shaped compound fruit, to long, and diameters of to , with skin that gives the appearance of having overlapping scales or knobby warts. Ripening to brown with a fissured surface from winter into spring; weighing on the average to but extra large specimens may weigh or more. The ripened flesh is creamy white and contains numerous edible, hard, brown or black, beanlike, glossy seeds, to long and about half as wide.

Hand pollinated flowers give more fruits.

A. cherimola, preferring the cool Andean altitudes, hybridizes with the other Annona species and a hybrid with A. reticulata called atemoya has received some attention in West Africa.


Widely cultivated now, Annona cherimola started life in the Andes at altitudes of to where it was spread to the Caribbean. From there it was taken by Europeans to various parts of the tropics. Unlike other Annona species A. cherimola has not successfully naturalized in West Africa, and the Australasians have misidentified Annona glabra as this species.Native
Western South America: Ecuador, Peru
Southern South America: ChileCurrent (naturalized and native)
Caribbean: Florida, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico
Central America: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama
Northern South America: Guyana, Venezuela
Western South America: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
Southern South America: Chile, Brazil
Palearctic: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, France, Italy, Spain, Madeira
Afrotropic: Eritrea, Somalia
Indomalaya: India, Singapore


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