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Annona muricata - L.

Common Name Sour Sop
Family Annonaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The seeds are toxic[ 307 ]. The stems contain an irritant sap[ 348 ]
Habitats Found on coastal limestone and lowland woodland[ 307 ].
Range S. America - northern S. America, southern Central America, Caribbean.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Annona muricata Sour Sop

Annona muricata Sour Sop


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Sour Sop or Annona muricata is a tropical short bushy tree that can grow up to 7 m tall with a diameter of up to 15cm. It has a thick, slightly shiny, long and narrow leaves. The flowers are large, often on its own or in groups of three. There have been researches that prove the medicinal properties of Sour Sop. It can be used to prevent or cure malaria and amoeba, as uterotonic, cardiac depressant, antifungal and antibacterial, and as treatment for parasitic diseases. It also acts as insecticide. The leaves when crushed are used as relief from distension and dyspepsia, scabies and skin diseases, rheumatism, and coughs and colds. It can also be applied directly to maturate boils and abscesses. Further, the leaves have sleep-inducing properties and can be placed under the pillow. The fruits, on the other hand, are used to treat bedwetting in children. It is also used as treatment for scurvy, fever, and as a vermifuge. The bark is used to stop bleeding on wounds. Other plant parts are used to treat headache, hypertension, heart problems, anxiety attacks, chest pains, nerve disorders, diarrhoea, and convulsions. The ovoid, spiny fruit is juicy and as fragrant as pineapple. When fully ripe, it is consumed raw or mixed with ice cream or milk. Immature fruits are used as vegetable. The leaves are source of corossol tea. The seeds are toxic and the stem contains an irritant sap. Like other plants in the Annonaceae family, it cannot tolerate frost but it can tolerate quite poor soil and a humid climate. It is fast growing and fruiting starts when the tree reaches its second year.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Annona muricata is an evergreen Tree growing to 7 m (23ft) by 7 m (23ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Flies, Beetles, Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Annona bonplandiana Kunth Annona cearaensis Barb.Rodr. Annona macrocarpa Werckl? Guanabanus muricatu

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves  Shoots
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Juicy and refreshingly acid[ 301 ]. The fruit has a pineapple like aroma, but its subacid to acid flavour is unique and the pulp is very juicy and rich in vitamin A and C[ 317 ]. The fruits are consumed fresh for dessert when fully ripe or mixed with ice cream or milk to make a delicious drink[ 303 ]. Immature fruits, harvested when the seeds are still soft, are cooked as a vegetable in soups etc[ 301 , 303 , 306 ]. The most desirable characteristics of the fruit are its extremely pleasing fragrance and flavour[ 303 ]. The ovoid fruit is up to 20 x 10cm[ 200 ] and can weigh 1 kilo[ 306 ]. Young shoots - cooked[ 301 ]. Eaten as a vegetable[ 317 ]. A tea, called corossol tea, is made from the leaves[ 301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antianxiety  Antibacterial  Antidiarrhoeal  Antifungal  Antirheumatic  Antiscorbutic  Antispasmodic  Cardiac  
Cardiotonic  Carminative  Cytotoxic  Dysentery  Febrifuge  Hypotensive  Malaria  
Narcotic  Parasiticide  Sedative  Skin  Uterine tonic  Vasodilator  Vermifuge

Sour sop is often used in traditional medicine. Research has shown that it is antimalarial, uterine stimulant, anticrustacean, antiparasitic, cytotoxic (acetogenins), cardiac depressant, antiamoebic, antibacterial, antifungal, hypertensive, spasmogenic, vasodilator, insecticide, smooth muscle relaxant[ 311 ]. The plant contains isoquinoline alkaloids including reticuline[ 348 ]. The seed contains galactomannan, sitosterol, stigmasterol and cholesterol[ 348 ]. The leaves are antispasmodic, calmative, narcotic[ 348 ]. The crushed leaves are used as a remedy for distension and dyspepsia, scabies and skin diseases, rheumatism, coughs and colds[ 303 ]. A decoction, often combined with Ludwigia erecta, is used to treat hypertension and heart conditions such as palpitations[ 348 ]. A decoction of the leaves, combined with the leaves of avocado (Persea americana) is drunk as an antihypertensive[ 348 ]. The leaves may also be used to make a decoction, which is taken orally with salt for digestive tract ailments and to relieve fatigue[ 303 ]. The pungent leaves are well-known for their sleep-inducing properties - they can be taken in an infusion, or simply placed under the pillow[ 307 ]. Applied externally, the crushed leaves are used to maturate boils and abscesses[ 303 ]. A massage of the leaves is good for remedying nervous shock[ 303 ]. The fruit is antiscorbutic, febrifuge, mildly antidysenteric and a good vermifuge[ 348 ]. It is used to treat bedwetting in children[ 348 ]. A decoction is used to remedy excess foot and hand perspiration[ 348 ]. The fruit is used to make a tonic that is used for treating fever, headache, hypertension, and heart problems[ 348 ]. A crushed leaf and seed decoction is taken orally for intestinal malaise[ 303 ]. The leaves and bark are cardiotonic and sedative[ 348 ]. A decoction is used for treating anxiety attacks[ 303 ]. The green bark is rubbed on wounds to stop bleeding[ 303 ]. Flower or flower bud tea is mixed with honey for colds, chest pain and nerve disorders[ 303 ]. The bark and young fruits, which contain tannin, are used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery[ 303 ]. The green bark is rubbed on wounds to stop bleeding[ 404 ]. The seed is an ingredient in a remedy for treating convulsions[ 348 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fuel  Insecticide  Insecticide  Parasiticide  Wood

Other uses rating: Low (2/5). Seaside, Backyard Tree, Screening, Large Container, Courtyard, Conservatory, Xerophytic. Agroforestry Uses: Sour sop is suitable for intercropping between larger fruit trees like mango or avocado. When these achieve crown closure the sour sops can be removed[ 404 ]. Other Uses A powder of the dried leaves and sap from fresh ones are useful in destroying vermin[ 303 ]. A powder or oil from the seeds has been used to kill lice and bedbugs[ 303 ]. All tree parts have insecticidal properties and can also be used, with fruit as bait, to kill fish[ 303 ]. The heartwood is brown; the sapwood is whitish. The wood is soft, light (specific gravity of 0.4), not durable[ 303 ]. It is rarely used as a construction timber but has been used for ox yokes[ 303 , 404 ]. The wood makes a suitable fuel[ 404 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Grows best in the moist, humid tropical and subtropical lowlands at elevations up to about 1,000 metres[ 303 , 306 ]. It prefers a mean annual temperature in the range 25 - 30c with a mean annual rainfall over 1,000mm[ 303 ]. Grows best in a sunny position[ 307 ]. Prefers a moist but well-drained, sandy loam with a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5[ 200 , 303 , 404 ]. Prefers a deep rich loam[ 303 , 306 ]. Succeeds in light-textured, alkaline soils[ 307 , 404 ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[ 307 ]. The leaves have an aroma similar to blackcurrants. Flowers are protandrous, and the pollen is shed as the outer petals open towards the evening. The inner petals open much later and only very slightly, admitting small insects attracted by the fragrance of the flowers. Presumably these insects effect cross-pollination, though rather inadequately, for few flowers set fruit and many fruits are misshapen since numerous ovules are not fertilized. Hand pollination is effective in improving fruit yield and quality[ 303 ]. Sporadic flowering and fruiting can occur all year round in favourable conditions[ 303 ]. Fruiting starts in the 2nd year, and 5-year-old trees produce 10 - 50 fruits, depending on pollination efficiency and nutrient status[ 303 ]. It bears fruit almost continually throughout the year, but there is normally one season when more fruit are getting ripe. Fruit can weigh up to 4-5 kg each. A tree can produce 12-24 fruit in a year. The fruit contain 11-14% sugars. There are many named varieties[ 301 ]. The area around the base of the tree should be kept free from weeds or covered with mulch to avoid dehydration of the shallow roots during the dry season[ 303 ]. Annona muricata can tolerate dry soil conditions, but the trees shed too many leaves if they experience prolonged drought[ 303 ]. Problems include: seed borers, scale, mealy bugs.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - usually breeds true to type[ 200 ]. Sow in individual pots, not deeper than 2cm, at 21c[ 200 ]. Seeds may be sown directly into the field or in a nursery bed[ 303 ]. The seed of many species in this genus has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing[ K ]. Semi-ripe cuttings[ 200 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Sour Sop or Annona muricata. Other Names: Ai-ata, Ai pen mamami, Anuune, Atti, Catuche, Corossol, Durian belanda, Durian benggala, Durian maki, Graviola, Guanabana, Guayabano, Guyubana, Jojaab, Kaiedi, Katu-anoda, Khan thalot, Khiep thet, Koitchila laka lakaran, Ma thurian, Mang cua, Mtopetope, Mundla sitaphal, Nangka belanda, Nangka seberang, Ramphal, Salifa, Seetha, Seremaia, Sirsak, Soensaka, Te tiotabu, Thurian khaek, Thurian thet, Tiep banla, Tiep barang.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Found In: Africa, Amazon, Andamans, Angola, Antingua and Barbuda, Antilles, Argentina, Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canary Islands, Central Africa, Central America, Chile, China, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, C?te d'Ivoire, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Africa, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, FSM, French Guiana, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guinea, Guin?e, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, Hispaniola, Honduras, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Laos, Liberia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mexico, Montserrat, Mozambique, Nauru, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North America, Pacific, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, SE Asia, Senegal.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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