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Also known as the Custard Apple. Cherimoya is native to South or Central America and is a close relative of the tropical Soursop and Sweetsop. It is a small tree growing to about five metres over time and is very well suited to conditions in Aotearoa.
The fruit has a creamy texture and delicious, sweet flesh with a flavour described as a mixture of pear and pineapple. It fruits in late winter and often produces huge crops, with some individual fruit reaching 1kg+ in size. It is self fertile, but fruit set can be increased by hand pollination. The trees we collect seed from always set large crops (sometimes breaking branches!) without any effort so we have never bothered with hand pollination.
Cherimoya are easy to grow trees; tolerant of a range of soil types and with low fertilizer needs. They can handle light frosts once established, but do best in a sheltered location as branches can be broken in strong winds. They are briefly deciduous.
These are un-grafted, seed-grown trees so they do have natural seedling variability, meaning the fruit can be different to that of the parent tree, and they may take longer to fruit than a grafted tree would. In our experience however, seedling Cherimoya trees still produce abundant delicious fruit and are healthier trees in the long run. We only select seeds from trees with good quality fruit. Should begin fruiting from 8-10 years.