30 Oct2006


by Marketman


I don’t think I have ever eaten an Atemoya (an Annona hybrid that is the result of a cross between a Cherimoya and a Sugar apple or Sweetsop or Atis) before. So when I saw a huge pile of fruit labeled “Atemoya” at the markets last Saturday I purchased two large pieces that weighed a total of about 1.3 kilos and cost a fairly hefty PHP260! They seemed a few days shy of total ripeness so I left them out in a fruit basket for two days to soften. There is an interesting story behind this hybrid, as it was apparently invented in Miami by a man who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the early 1900’s, then sent seeds to the Philippines and the fruit seemed to thrive here… However, fruit bastardization was naturally occurring and a similar cross fruit mating occurred in Australia as well, and possibly decades earlier.

Much larger than “atis“, the atemoyas had more pulp, less seeds atemoya2and a pleasant flavor. However, I think atis is sweeter, softer and has more flavor. The large atemoya that I sampled struck me as being not totally adapted to the local environment and bits of the fruit were a bit firm and less than appetizing. Based on this just one sample, however, I would take an atis over the atemoya. But also having tasted these spectacular custard apples from Australia, I would have to say my vote on this related family of fruit would go to the Australian specimens that are just utterly spectacular! I also noticed some imported atemoyas from Bangkok being peddled at the markets for a whopping PHP360 a kilo a day later… I wonder if they are significantly better than the local ones…



  1. MasPinaSarap says:

    I first tried this a few months ago from a fruit I bought in Chinatown(I sent you an e-mail about it :) ). I think I should have let it ripen, I thought it was fully ripe already, but nope. It wasn’t very tasty, maybe i’ll try again in the future.
    Have you heard of Guyatis, MM? I heard it thrives in the PI

    Oct 30, 2006 | 10:53 pm


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    Atis is the mega star of all. The Australian custard apples are great too but pricewise, I will go with atis. The only downside in eating atis it is riddled with seeds, if you are on a date and finishing off your wonderful dinner with a serving of atis or atis ice cream — it will kill the romantic night. You have to munch on the seeds!

    Oct 31, 2006 | 4:52 am

  4. ThePseudoshrink says:

    I think these are called anonas in Bulacan. My mom and I love the oh-so-sweet pulp, and with so few seeds at that! We were a bit forlorn when our neighbor’s tree where we would pick our anonas had to be cut. Pity.

    Oct 31, 2006 | 9:13 am

  5. Marketman says:

    ThePseudoshrink, yes, anonas are the scientific name of the family of fruit…

    Oct 31, 2006 | 9:33 am

  6. ted says:

    At least you guys get to eat fresh “Atis” (my favorite)when it’s in season. I was able to eat Atis in Toronto, but here in the Bay Area (California), you can only get “Atis” frozen and they came from Thailand, not as sweet as the Filipino Atis. Cherimoya is available here when in season, I think they were able to grow them in the Southern Cali area and seems to thrive there pretty good, but it still does not compare to our “Atis”. Btw, are Persimmons available locally in Manila?

    Oct 31, 2006 | 10:08 am

  7. santos. says:

    hi marketman! i did a post on atemoya recently:


    my mom said that these were often found in abundance, wild, in pampanga; i assume a naturally occurring hybrid. the only possible difference between those then and the ones now are that the flesh is firmer, although she admits that she didn’t go wandering off into the boonies on regular basis, so perhaps the fruit she found was already overripe at that stage.

    Oct 31, 2006 | 10:19 am

  8. Marketman says:

    santos, THANKS for the link…I have always LOVED your site, btw. According to the purdue university site, which is brilliant for fruits, this was engineered and brought to the Philippines in 1907 or so. It took like wildfire and thrived… But I suppose we could have had it naturally beforehand if both source plants were present… I found mine a bit hard but the flavor was okay… ted, persimmons are flown in occasionally, but are not widely available in Manila.

    Oct 31, 2006 | 10:40 am

  9. Lenore says:

    I saw persimmons being peddled by the roadside in Divisoria.

    Nov 1, 2006 | 10:47 am

  10. Tropical Pomology says:

    Hi, just wanna share some informations about Atemoya, actually Atemoya is not new to our country as Marketman pointed out. Horticulturists in Florida through the American regime used Philippines as a Breeding project for crossing Cherimoya and Sugar Apple (Atis). Anyway, the story goes that they crossed Cherimoya and Sugar Apple in Florida but planted the seeds of the fruits that were crossed in the Philippines. So for that reason, Atemoya was already cultivated here in the Philippines in the past but selected varieties were not identified.

    Anyway, the first cultivated Atemoya variety introduced in the Philippines is “African Pride” it was introduced by Institute of Plant Breeding of UP LOS BANOS. But the problem with this variety was not promoted and mass propagated by the institution that last time I heard the lone tree died because of non-maintenance. “African Pride” is also grown in Australia, Israel, Florida, Brazil, Thailand, Taiwan, South Africa etc. One good thing about this variety that it is self pollinating so no need to hand pollinate like Cherimoya or other Atemoya varieties like Pinks Mammmoth and Hillary White of Australia and it is more adopted to the tropical climate.

    Custard Apple is only like a general term for Atemoya in Australia. It is there way of branding Atemoya in Australia for marketing purposes. “Kung baga mas maganda pakinggan and custard apple kaysa sa Atemoya.” The hard part of using Custrad apple is that in reality this is a different fruit from Atemoya. In the Philippines, Custard Apple is what we call “Anunas” (Annona Reticulata). Australia knows this kaya they cannot patent the name for there own use.

    Atemoya is now a potential export crop in the Philippines and countries like Australia, Taiwan, Thailand, Brazil, Israel, Egypt are making money in exporting Atemoya in other countries. Thats why fruit growers in the Philippines have started planting Atemoya in some part of the countries and they have introduced imported varieties. In the near future I think our country will benefit from this crop as another fruit export crop once promoted well even in small quantities. The only hard thing about Atemoya is the cultural management of tree, medyo mahirap palakihin and pabungahin and Atemoya. Kung baga mabusisi and pag-alaga kaya some growers shy away from this fruit tree as a commercial crop.

    Also, just want to inform you, that in the near future we might also produce Cherimoya in highland tropics of Baguio, Cordillera, and Mt. Province. We introduced imported cherimoya seeds last year and from what I heard they are doing well, some old trees had been flowering and we told them to hand pollinate them for fruit development. I hope the highland tropics could benefit from this besides citrus, strawberries and vegetables.

    Nov 4, 2006 | 10:29 pm

  11. Tropical Pomology says:

    MasPinaSarap, just wanna comment on “GUYATIS”, actually “GUYATIS” is a combined words of Guyabano and Atis. For some fruit growers in the Philippines they thought this fruit was a cross between Guyabano and Atis. Because of its lemony, milky, and tart taste. But in reality, this fruit is called “BIRIBA” (Rollinia Mucosa), a native fruit in South America. P.J. Wester introduced Biriba in the Philippines in the 1900’s but I think the Spaniards have earlier introduced Biriba along with Sugar Apple because it is also native in Mexico.

    Anyway, there is a backyard industry selling the so called “GUYATIS” or Biriba fruit in Laguna in the part of the highway in Calamba. They sell this along with Rambutan, Durian, Lanzones because they have the same harvest season.

    Anyway, if you are interested in seedlings of “GUYATIS”, they are selling planting materials in the fruit nursery of Manila Seedling Bank in EDSA.

    Nov 4, 2006 | 10:52 pm

  12. Marce Goulart says:

    hi all. I´m from Brazil, Minas Gerais and we growning atemoya at my family farmer.
    In fact, our atemoya has the average weight of 800g / 1 kilo. Right now i´m searching what to do to export these delicius fruit to the world.
    One day i´ll get it !!
    See you

    May 15, 2008 | 9:15 am

  13. Rene Toledo says:

    I was born and raised in Cuba, in a house with a garden and a backyard.
    There were atemoya trees (1 in the garden and at least 2 in the yard). This fruit is delicious for the Cubans. It was one of my favorite fruits in Cuba. Now I live in Miami, Florida, US. I have never again tasted the atemoya. I really miss its great flavor.

    Dec 4, 2008 | 2:44 pm

  14. bill Tschan says:

    a very interesting site, thank you. I have been growing most of the Annonas but not the Biriba (Rollinia deliciosa) My latest acquisition was the Atemoya and it is flowering and fruiting for the first time now (our summer Jan. 09)
    Checking out some photos on yours and other web-sites on the Atemoya I noticed the flowers, fruits and leaves of my tree to be different from the Atemoya. What I have flowering now is the Biriba, also a delicious fruit. Have you got a site on the Biriba too? keep up the excellent work.

    Jan 18, 2009 | 6:38 am

  15. czarina abuan says:

    where is the best place in the Philippines to grow atemoya?
    Can it be grown in a commercial scale?
    cherimoya in the states cost an arm and a leg. You have to drive to Canada and buy in china town for atis which also cost an arm and a leg.
    I like the flavor of the atis best but too many seeds.
    both of them are very similar in flavors ,so both are good.

    Feb 17, 2009 | 11:16 am

  16. erick says:

    guyatis grows well here in mountanous area of olongapo city it taste good and bear heavy fruits seedlings were easy to propagate but it is not known to market and it has short shelf life so easy to ripe it is good for family consumotion only.

    Mar 11, 2009 | 1:44 pm

  17. erick says:

    guyatis grows well here in mountanous area of olongapo city it taste good and bear heavy fruits, seedlings were easy to propagate but it is not known to market and it has short shelf life so easy to ripe it is good for family consumotion only.

    Mar 11, 2009 | 1:44 pm


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