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Soursop branch with flower and fruit
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Magnoliales
Family: Annonaceae
Genus: Annona
Species: A. muricata
Binomial name
Annona muricata

The soursop (Spanish guanábana, Portuguese graviola, Annona muricata; syn. A. sericea Dunal in Correia, M. P., (1984), A. macrocarpa Wercklé, A. bonplandiana H.B. & K., A. cearensis Barb.Rodr., A. coriacea, Guanabanus muricatus (L.) M.Gómez in Rain-tree) is a broadleaf flowering evergreen tree native to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. Soursop is also native to Sub-Saharan Africa countries that lie within the tropics. Today, it is also grown in some areas of Southeast Asia. It is in the same genus as the chirimoya and the same family as the pawpaw. In most Spanish speaking countries it is commonly known as Guanábana. In the Philippines, it is known as guyabano. In Kerala, India it is known as Aathakka pazham.

The soursop is adapted to areas of high humidity and relatively warm winters, temperatures below 5 °C/41 °F will cause damage to leaves and small branches, and temperatures below 3 °C/37.4 °F can be fatal. The fruit becomes dry and is no longer good for concentrate.

Its flavor is described as a combination of strawberry and pineapple with sour citrus flavor notes contrasting with an underlying creamy flavor reminiscent of coconut or banana.


Cultivation and uses

The plant is grown as a commercial crop for its 20-30 cm /7.87-11.8 inch long prickly green fruit, which can have a mass of up to 2.5 kg/5.5 lbs.

Away from its native area, there is some limited production as far north as southern Florida within USDA Zone 10; however these are mostly garden plantings for local consumption. It is also grown in parts of southeastern Asia. The soursop will reportedly fruit as a container specimen, even in temperate climates if protected from cool temperatures.

Soursop fruit whole and sliced

The flesh of the fruit consists of an edible white pulp and a core of indigestible black seeds. The species is the only member of the genus Annona that is suitable for processing and preservation. The sweet pulp is used to make juice as well as candies, sorbets, and ice cream flavorings.

In Mexico it is a common fruit often used for dessert as the only ingredient, or as an agua fresca beverage. Ice cream and fruit bars made of soursop are also very popular. The seeds are normally left in the preparation, and removed while consuming.

In Indonesia, dodol sirsak, a sweetmeat, is made by boiling soursop pulp in water and adding sugar until the mixture hardens. Soursop is also a common ingredient for making fresh fruit juices that are sold by street food vendors. In Vietnam, this fruit is called mãng cầu Xiêm in the South, or quả Na in the North and is used to make juice, or eaten as is. In Cambodia, this fruit is called "Tearb Barung", literally "Western Custard-apple fruit." In Malaysia it is known in Malay as 'Durian Belanda' and in East Malaysia, specifically the Dusun race in Sabah, it is locally known as 'lampun'. Popularly it is eaten raw when it ripens. Usually the fruits are taken from the tree when they mature and left to ripen in a dark corner whereby they will be eaten when they are fully ripe, i.e., it is soft when you press the fruit. It has a white flower with a very pleasing scent especially in the morning.

Soursop fruit on tree

Nutritionally, the fruit is high in carbohydrates, particularly fructose. The fruit also contains significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B1, and vitamin B2. The fruit, seeds, and leaves have a number of herbal medicinal uses among indigenous peoples of regions where the plant is common.

In the Caribbean it is believed that laying the leaves of the soursop on a bed below a sleeping person with a fever will break the fever by the next morning. Also, boiling the leaves and drinking may help induce sleep.[2]

The tea, fruit, and juice are used medicinally to treat illness ranging from stomach ailments to worms.

Health risks

Research carried out in the Caribbean has suggested a connection between consumption of soursop and atypical forms of Parkinson's disease due to the very high concentration of annonacin.[3][4][5][6]


  1. ^ "Annona muricata information from NPGS/GRIN". Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  2. ^ "Tropical Plant Database:GRAVIOLA (Annona muricata)". Raintree Nutrition. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  3. ^ Lannuzel, A; et al. (2003-10-06). "The mitochondrial complex i inhibitor annonacin is toxic to mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons by impairment of energy metabolism". Neuroscience (International Brain Research Organization) 121 (2): 287–296. doi:10.1016/S0306-4522(03)00441-X. 
  4. ^ Champy, Pierre; et al. (2005-08-02). "Quantification of acetogenins in Annona muricata linked to atypical parkinsonism in guadeloupe". Movement Disorders 20 (12): 1629–1633. doi:10.1002/mds.20632. 
  5. ^ Lannuzel A, Höglinger GU, Champy P, Michel PP, Hirsch EC, Ruberg M. (2006). "Is atypical parkinsonism in the Caribbean caused by the consumption of Annonacae?". J Neural Transm Suppl. 70 (70): 153–7. doi:10.1007/978-3-211-45295-0_24. PMID 17017523. 
  6. ^ Caparros-Lefebvre D, Elbaz A. (1999-07-24). Possible relation of atypical parkinsonism in the French West Indies with consumption of tropical plants: a case-control study. 354. pp. 281–6. PMID 10440304. 

See also

External links



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