The cherimoya, Latin name Annona cherimola, is a fruiting tree that comes from the Inca people. This green leaved tree bears apple sized fruit with pineapple like nubs or nipples around it. I consider these the pinecones of the fruit tree family.
They are also referred to as custard apples thanks to the creamy vanilla flavored flesh. If you are just getting to know the cherimoya, here are several of the types of cherimoya that you might find around the farmer’s market. By the way, Mark Twain was quoted to have said the cherimoya is the “most delicious fruit known to men.”
1. Amarilla Cherimoya
The Amarilla cherimoya is actually a fun one to start with–because it is not a fruit at all! It’s an anime character named Cherimoya Amarillo-Oriol. She is the princess and main character of the World Wide Mew Mew story, and her name is Mew Cherimoya, but you can call her Cheri.
She is consistently cozy and wears sweatshirts and shorts a lot. I know, I told you it would be a fun one! This cherimoya is also a cross with an agua Rica leaf frog.
There is also an Alola Mew Mew named Cherimoya Makemake ‘o…just to make these things even more confusing. After all, what’s in this fruit?
2. Baste Cherimoya
The Baste cherimoya is the first real fruity variety I have for you on this list of the types of cherimoyas. This one in particular is a thick-skinned fruit with textural nubs on the exterior.
3. Bayott Cherimoya
The next cherimoya fruit we have that you can actually eat and want to eat is the Bayott. This is a preferable fruit specimen thanks to its small size. It is grown to a small to medium size, approximately the same as a hen’s egg.
The cherimoya Bayott variety is also a smooth ovoid on the exterior of the skin. This means there is a limited number of nipples that are covering the Bayott, which is a cross between the Bays and Ott varieties of the cherimoya.
4. Bays Cherimoya
The Bays cherimoya is one of the more popular forms of this fruit you might find at farmers’ stands. According to one consumer, “This is the Bays cherimoya and more commonly available cherimoya. It has a smooth, custardy texture and only had grittiness near the skin.
This is a very sweet cherimoya with licorice undertones (tasted like Red Vines). It is a larger fruit and had about 34 seeds in the fruit.” The Bays is a medium-size cherimoya that has flavors of lemon as well. The skin is a light green and you can press your finger to see a mark as it is not too tough.
5. Behl Cherimoya
The Behl cherimoya is a hearty stock that is self-pollinating and easy to grow to harvest. The fruit tree is a vigorous grower that produces plenty of juicy fruit. Unlike some of the more common varieties like Pierce, the Behl is grit-free and has completely smooth skin.
You also receive stronger notes of vanilla and pineapple in this cherimoya, with delicate hints of banana and raspberry undertones. One of the more complex cherimoyas, the Behl, is a popular find if you can score it!
6. Booth Cherimoya
Another easy-to-grow and produce fruit cherimoya tree is the Booth. This cherimoya tree will grow to a towering 30 feet high and produce fruit similar to a pineapple in shape. These cone-shaped cherimoyas are seedier than most, which is not the best since the seeds are toxic and cannot be eaten–and take up a lot of space in the fruit pit.
However, if you like papaya, chances are you’ll enjoy a Booth cherimoya!
7. Ecuadorian Cherimoya
The Ecuadorian cherimoya is a unique variety of this fruit that grows in Ecuador. They sell the cherimoya to eat in yogurt, ice cream, and fruit juices. Their version of the cherimoya down in South America is medium-sized and dark green compared to the lighter green versions elsewhere.
As is the custom, their fruit is also mammillated, meaning it has nipples on the outside. The Ecuadorian cherimoya also contains poisonous seeds, which are to be avoided.
8. El Bumpo Cherimoya
Source: Sarvodaya Institute
Now here is another fun-sized oval of fruit fun! The El Bumpo variety of the cherimoya is a very curious looking fully grown specimen of fruit. Each one ends up weighing one to two pounds and is shaped in a conical form similar to a pinecone.
The exterior is covered in soft, light green skin covering pointed nubs in very pronounced mammillation. I look at El Bumpo and see a big pine cone dipped in light green candle wax, but it’s not! The skin is so soft you can actually eat it.
Also, it is thin enough to break into using a spoon, which is great for scooping out the cherimoya.
9. Ott Cherimoya
The Ott cherimoya comes from closer to home as it is grown in California. The Ott tree grows cherimoya fruits in Southern California, including at the Fullerton Arboretum near Disneyland. In fact, the Ott cherimoya tree was grafted by William Ott in La Habra, California.
That Ott tree is still there at the arboretum and is most likely the world’s oldest and longest-living Ott cherimoya tree. According to the Orange County Chapter on Growing Edible Plants, “Do not be alarmed if you find this tree with yellowed leaves falling from it in early spring. Remember, it is a South American tree, and there it is Fall.
The tree has never adapted to our seasons.”
10. Pierce Cherimoya
Source: Mimosa Nursery
The Pierce cherimoya, which I find funny since I am a resident of Pierce County, but alas, we are talking about the cherimoya! The Pierce variety of cherimoya is another one that, like the Ott, comes well grown. Along with an Ott cherimoya, the Fullerton Arboretum also has a Pierce cherimoya tree–the only two cherimoya trees on the premises, and their selection is definitive.
This cherimoya is medium in size and has a conical pine cone shape. However, this one has preferred at the dinner table thanks to its high sugar content, making the Pierce a sweeter tasting cherimoya variety.
11. Fino de Jete Cherimoya
Here is another internationally sourced variety of cherimoya, the Fino de Jete. This fruit of the cherimoya clan is famous in Spain where it is a “main cultivar of custard apples.” When eating the Fino de Jete, the most impressive indicator of freshness is indeed the impressions you can make on its skin.
The skin might look alien-like with its nipple formation due to mammillation, but in fact, when you press into this strange green skin, you can see your fingerprints. This allows you to easily pick and dig into a cherimoya from Spain. Here the fruit is more heart-shaped but still slightly concave at the edges.
12. Gran Canaria Cherimoya
The Gran Canaria cherimoya is another one of those regional varieties that you have to travel to sample. Here you must go to the Grand Canary Island in Africa and pay three euros for a kilo to taste a fresh and juicy cherimoya. The Gran Canaria cherimoya is full of vitamin C and is “About the size of an apple with knobbly, green skin.
Cherimoyas have rich, white flesh that tastes a bit like bubble gum, with hints of banana and pineapple. Even rock-hard ones soften within a few days.” This makes these fruits the perfect choice for any fruit basket with a tropical theme!
They can also be a colorful yellow fruit–thus the name, Canaria aka canary, like the yellow bird used in mining operations to indicate whether a mind and if it was about to blow up or not due to a lack of oxygen.
13. Whaley Cherimoya
The Whaley cherimoya is another old-school variety–this time, being born and bred in Hollywood, California. According to the Avocado Source, “This old variety has been grown in California for several years. It originated at the old Whaley place in Hollywood.
The tree tends to be rather open and spreading, with small leaves. The fruit is midseason in maturity. It is short, conical in form with a tuberculate surface. The quality is excellent.”
It is high in vitamin B vitamins and contains loads of antioxidants and minerals. The Whaley cherimoya is a light green-skinned fruit and is medium to large, making it, like the name suggests, bigger than most cherimoyas. The flavorful flesh is easy to eat while avoiding the sac of toxic seeds.
14. White Cherimoya
The final tree of cherimoya that we come to in this plant and fruit selection is the White cherimoya. As the name suggests, the fruit of the White cherimoya is white, as with most of these fruits. When doing some digging into the background of the name, there are several subspecies in the White family of cherimoyas.
These include the Dr. White cherimoya, which you can find as a grafted live tree plant on Amazon, and Snow White cherimoyas, which are grown in Peru and more of the root of this plant species. The Snow White cherimoya comes from Quechua and means “cold seeds.” In Peru, the Snow White cherimoya outweighs the Whaley of Hollywood by a long shot.
It’s even bigger than El Bumpo with a mass of up to four pounds when it falls off of the tree branch ready to eat.