Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: Soursop, Luganda: Kitafeli

+ Tree Species

Annona muricata

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Soursop is a plant native to South America that is widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Annona muricata is tolerant of poor soil and prefers lowland areas between the altitudes of 0 meters (0 ft) to 1,200 meters (3,900 ft.). An exotic fruit tree planted throughout the warm tropical lowlands. One of several Annona, this species has the largest fruit, 1-4 kg in weight, but normally much less. Introduced to Uganda, it is grown in mixed orchards or individually. Most common in Central Region but nowhere planted as a single orchard crop. In Kampala, Sour sop can be found within Makerere university, Sheraton gardens, along Lugogo bypass, Owen road among other places.

+ Description

A slender evergreen tree 5-7 m in height, usually less, with a bole which may be 30 cm in diameter, the branches very low and wide, giving an open shady crown. In drought conditions it may lose all its leaves.

BARK: grey with a pattern of shallow grooves.

LEAVES: alternate, dark green, shiny and leathery 8-15 cm long, oval with a sharp tip, dull or yellowish below where there are small pits in vein axils. Crushed leaves have a strong, unpleasant smell.

FLOWERS: solitary and large, 2-5 cm across, often opposite leaves and hanging down, 3 outer fleshy petals, curved, almost triangular, 3 inner yellow-green petals, thinner and rounded, edges overlapping.

FRUIT: kidney or heart-shaped to 25 cm long, the leathery dark green skin covered with soft curved spines. Inside woolly white fibrous pulp covers many large brown-black seeds. The fleshy receptacle and fruit walls are edible and have a distinctive acid-sweet taste. (Single fruits grow together making one "compound" fruit, but the outline of individual fruits can be seen on the skin, each with its own spine. As pollination is often incomplete the fruit may have a distorted shape).

+ Uses

Edible: fruit can be consumed fresh for dessert when fully ripe or mixed with ice cream or milk to make a delicious drink, can be made into fruit jelly, juice (with sugar added), young fruits with seeds that are still soft are used as a vegetable, mature but firm fruits may be made into candy of delicate flavor and aroma.

Provides timber.

Powder of dried leaves and sap from fresh ones are useful in destroying vermin.

A powder or oil from the seeds has been used to kill lice and bedbugs.

All parts of the tree have insecticidal properties and can be used, with fruit as bait, to kill fish.

Medicine: leaves, seed, bark, flowers and fruits. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treedb/AFTPDFS/Annona_muricata.PDF

An ornamental tree.

+ Propagation

Seeds, grafting and budding.

+ Management

Slow growing. Application of manure may be necessary in the early stages. Mulching will eliminate weeds. Manage crown above 1 m height to encourage branching.

+ Remarks

This is a desirable tree in home gardens as the delicious fruit can earn good cash and can be used for juice and ice-cream. However, one tree rarely produces more than a dozen fruit, which take 3 months to ripen, and are often attacked by birds such as mouse birds. All parts have insecticidal properties and can be used to kill fish ad a fruit can be used as bait. Contact with the eyes causes great irritation. It may be attacked by mealy bugs and scaly insects resulting in a reduction of yield or even complete failure.

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