|Origin and distribution
To help determine the best cultivation conditions for cherimoya its important to study where they originated. Cherimoya are native to the Andean valleys of Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia, where plantings by pre-Incan people can be traced as far back as 2,500BC. In ancient times, cultivation spread to Chile and Brazil, where they became naturalized in the highland areas.
Cherimoya are also naturalized and commonly grown in temperate areas of Costa Rica and other countries of Central America. In Guatemala, naturalized trees are common between 1,0002,500m, with the most productive trees growing between 1,2001,800m. Michoacan in Mexico has very old trees, which thrive between 1,3001,600m, and is known as an important area of cherimoya production. In Argentina, cherimoya mostly grow around the Tucuman area. In Colombia, vegetables and annual flowers are sometimes planted among young trees, to sell in the markets. Large commercial plantings have been made in Chile recently.
Cherimoya arrived in the Granada area of Spain in 1757, but werent regarded as important until the 1940s and 50s when 260 acres were planted to replace disease-ridden orange trees. Trees were planted 5m apart to be thinned later, which wasnt always done, as in the village of Jete (which produces some fine cherimoya) where the trees have grown so close together they now form a forest. In 1785 cherimoya were introduced into Jamaica, where they are cultivated on hillsides between 1,0001,500m. In 1790 they reached Hawaii, then Haiti sometime later. They were first planted in Italy in 1797. Cherimoya trees have been tried in the Singapore Botanic Gardens tropical climate but have always failed. In the Philippines, they grow in the Mountain Province at altitudes above 750m. They were introduced into India and Sri Lanka in 1880 where there are small-scale plantings at elevations between 5002,100m. Cherimoya were planted in Madeira in 1897, then the Canary Islands, Algiers, Egypt, and (probably via Italy) in Libya, Eritrea and Somalia. Trees were planted in California in 1871 and by 1936 there were 9,000 trees, but many were killed by a freeze in 1937. There are also plantings in Queensland, Australia.
Cherimoya seed first arrived in New Zealand about 1930, but didnt become a commercial crop until the early 1980s. There are now about 60 varieties to choose from, although many are unsuitable for commercial production. Orchards are restricted to the frost-free areas of Northland and the Bay of Plenty, where about 5,0007,000 trees are currently planted.
Next climate needs and considerations for cherimoya