Annona muricata seeds
Annona muricata is also known as soursop or graviola. It belongs to the family of the Annonaceae and is native to Southamerica and the Caribbean. A. muricata is a tree that reaches a height of about 8 m. The leaves of A. muricata look like bay leaves. They are dark green, glossy and elliptic or elongated oval. The leaves alternate at the shoot. The young leaves are light green. The flowers are yellowish greenish and do not smell very nice to humans. This odour is attractive for flies which are the pollinators of A. muricata. The flowers have three sepals and three tepals, the flowers sit directly at the trunk (cauliflory) or the branches (ramiflory).
The fruits of A. muricata are oval or heartshaped and can get 40 cm in diameter. They can reach a weight of about 4kg. The fruit is surrounded by a leathery skin with several thorns. The thorns are soft and are not used for protection against herbivory. The fruits can be eaten and are served in different ways. They have an acetous taste and are mixed into the salad or are served as a dessert mixed with sugar and milk. In Puerto Rico the natives are used to drink “Carato”. Therefore the creamy juice is pressed out of the fruit and mixed with water and milk. In Germany the fruit is hardly known because once ripe they cannot be transported anymore. In the pulp there are the black seeds of the plant. The seeds are very toxic because they include Annonacin a strong neurotoxic substance.
A. muricata is used in the medicine and shall help against cancer, parasites and bacterial infections. In medicine all parts of the plant are used.
Before planting the seeds they have to lay for 24 to 48h in hot water. After that treatment they can be put 1cm deep into the soil that should include sand. A. muricata should be placed warm and light (25°C). The substrate should be always moist but not wet. A. muricata grows best on slightly acidic soils with a pH between 5 and 7. Germination occurs after 2 till 6 weeks. A. muricata should be planted in a bucket because it needs a deep soil.