Soursop Facts: Commonly Asked Questions and Answers

soursop facts

We know the amazing tree we have come to love as the graviola tree, but it is also commonly known as soursop in North America and other English speaking countries. Here are some commonly asked graviola / soursop facts in the form of questions and answers.

Soursop Tree - What is it and where does it grow?

The soursop tree, also known as graviola, and by the botany name Annona muricata, is a broadleaf flowering evergreen tree. It is commonly found growing in Central America, Caribbean nations (including the Virgin Islands, where we are), as well as  Mexico and northern South America, including  Venezuela,Colombia and Brazil. Soursop also grows in sub-Saharan African nations in the tropics. It can also be found in some areas of Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia. It is in the same genus as the chirimoya and the same family as the pawpaw.

Soursop and Climate - What conditions does the soursop grow in?

The soursop tree grows well in the tropics. That is to say areas of high humidity. It also thrives in climates that have warm winters. If the temperature drops below 5°C / 41°F, these conditions will cause damage to leaves and small branches. Temperatures below 3°C / 37.4°F can be fatal to the soursop tree. Under these conditions, the fruit becomes dry and is not particularly consumable. More about growing soursop here.

Soursop names - What are the common names for graviola / soursop?

As previously noted, graviola is also well known as soursop in English speaking nations. In Spanish, it is known as guanábana. It is also known as: Brazilian pawpaw, corossolier, guanavana, toge-banreisi, durian benggala, nangka blanda and nangkalonda, corossol, corossol Épineux, nangka blanda, nangka londa, sour sop, toge-banreisiIn the Malay language (Malayalam), it is called "Mullaatha", which literally means thorny custard apple.

What is soursop tea?

Soursop tea is an herbal tea made from the dried leaves of the soursop tree. The leaves and stems contain the highest levels of the phytochemical called which has been shown in laboratory studies to selectively kill cancer cells.  
It is used by many people as a tool against cancer.

What does soursop fruit taste like?

Soursop's fruit flavor can be described as a cross between strawberry and pineapple with somewhat sour citrus flavor notes with an underlying creamy flavor that has flavors of coconut or banana.

What does soursop tea taste like?

Soursop tea is made of the soursop tree leaves. When dried and steeped in boiling water for 4 to 6 minutes it produces an  herbal tea that starts as a light lime green color and gets darker and browner as the tea steeps. The flavor of soursop tea can be described like grassy andherbaceous like green tea with a subtle hint of vanilla.

What is soursop fruit and leaves used for around the world?

Soursop leaves can be used to make an herbal tea. It can also be used as an ingredient in iced tea. This is a common use in the Caribbean and the U.S.
The flesh of the soursop fruit consists of an edible white pulp. It can be used to make juice, as well as candies, sorbets, and ice cream.
In Mexico and Colombia, it is a common fruit, often used for dessert as the only ingredient, or as an agua fresca beverage.
In Colombia it is a fruit mixed with milk. Ice cream and fruit bars made of soursop are also very popular.
In Indonesiadodol sirsak, a sweetmeat, is made by boiling soursop pulp in water and adding sugar until the mixture hardens. Soursop is also a common ingredient for making fresh fruit juices that are sold by street food vendors.
In Vietnam, this fruit is called mãng cầu Xiêm in the south, or mãng cầu
in the north. It is used to make smoothies, or eaten as is. In Cambodia, the fruit is called tearb barung, meaning "western custard-apple fruit."
In Malaysiait is known in Malay as durian belanda and in East Malaysia, specifically among the Dusun people of Sabah, it is locally known as
General consumption: Soursop fruit is eaten raw when it ripens. Usually the fruit is harvested from the tree when it matures and left to ripen in room temperature.
The tree has a white flower with a very pleasant scent, especially in the morning. 

How is soursop fruit and leaves used in natural medicine?

Soursop fruit and leaves contain antioxidants and phyto chemicals that in laboratory studies have been shown to kill cancerous tumor cells. Learn more about how  soursop is used as a remedy against cancer