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Custard Apple ( Sitaphal )

Introduction : Custard Apple ( Sitaphal ) is one of the finest fruits introduced in India from tropical America. It is also found in wild form in many parts of India. It is cultivated in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, and Tamil Nadu. Besides India, it is common in China, Phillippines, Egypt and Central Africa.

Importance: It is very hardy, medium in growth and decidious in nature. The fruits are generally used as fresh, while some products or mixed fruits like custard powders, ice-creams are prepared from the fruits. Besides high nutritive value, it has also a high medicinal value. Unripe fruits, seeds, leaves and roots are considered and used in medicinal preparations.

Climate: all annonas are tropical in origin and grow well in hot and dry climate with varying degrees of difference. Custard Apple requires hot dry climate during flowering and high humidity at fruit setting. Flowering comes during hot dry climate of May but fruit setting takes place on onset of monsoon. Low humidity is harmful for pollination and fertilization. The Custard Apple withstands drought conditions cloudy weather and also when the temperatures go below 15 deg.cent. Annual rainfall of 50-80 cm is optimum, though it can withstand higher rainfall.

Soil: The Custard Apple is not very particular about soil conditions and flourishes in all types of soils like shallow, sandy, but fails to grow if the subsoil is ill drained. It can grow well in deep black soils provided they are well drained. A little salinity or acidity does not affect it but alkalinity, chlorine, poor drainage or marshy-wet lands hamper the growth and fruiting.

Description

Varieties : The following are some of the varieties grown in different agro-climatic regions of the country.

• Red Sitaphal
• Balanagar
• Hybrid
• Washington
• Purandhar (Pune)

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