From the Archives
of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, inc.
by Allan King
The Rollinia deliciosa,
or more commonly, the Custard Apple of the Amazon, is one of the best
fruits in the world; second only to the Quararibea cordata. It is a
fruit about 10" long and 6" wide, a very rich yellow colour when ripe,
with small, soft spines that turn black when fully mature.
are native to the Amazon River regions of South America. In Iquitos,
Peru, where I found the most and best fruits, they were prized
possessions of only a few vendors in the markets, and even in these
poor parts they were worth their weight.
The trees are
fast-growing and can flower in 18 months to two years, as proven now in
North Queensland. They flower just about all year round, and can have
ripe fruit as well as young ones down to the size of a fingernail. The
trees grow to about 20' on average, although I did see one on the banks
of the Amazon in Tabatinga, Brazil, that was over 40' high. A beautiful
sight to behold.
My first impression of the fruit was: "Wow!
this tastes like lemon meringue pie." Not exactly like the pie, but of
the same texture and consistency. I found the best time to eat the
fruit was when they were ripe, but still firm. This is determined by
lightly pressing the skin with the fingers; when they indent without
bruising, they are perfect. The fruit contains on average 80 to 90
seeds, similar in size and shape to our already known Annona fruit.
are proving to be a very successful tree in North Queensland. Already
after two years there are some lucky people who will be eating their
first fruit in the not-too-distant future. The trees are very adaptable
to all types of soil and will grow in full sun or in shady positions. A
small amount of organic compost on planting, and a couple of
applications a year will produce a beautifully shaped and productive
tree. They have a high water requirement and are doing well both on the
coast and in the mountains. There shouldn't be a backyard with a bit of
space without a Rollinia. One thing is for sure - they are a beautiful
fruit and, as the name implies, taste delicious.
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