|Authors: ||X. Scheldeman, V. Ureña, P. Van Damme|
|Keywords: ||Andean fruits, plant genetic resources, germplasm|
A collection of wild cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill.) accessions was carried out in Loja province (southern Ecuador), a centre of biodiversity of cherimoya and probably its centre of origin, between January 1996 and March 1998. The objective was to get an idea on the variability that exists in the species centre of biodiversity.
A total of 448 fruits from 137 trees in 32 sites in 16 parishes of 7 counties in the province of Loja were collected and characterised according to fruit weight, seed percentage (ratio of seed weight/total weight), seed index (number of seeds per 100 g fruit), pulp percentage (ratio of pulp weight/total weight), soluble solids and skin type.
The data show a large variability in fruit characteristics, a typical feature for plant species collected in or near their centre of origin, supporting the hypothesis of Loja province being located in the centre of origin.
The average cherimoya tree in Loja province has fruits with a weight of 400 g, a seed index of 13 with 8 % seeds on a seed weight/total weight basis, and 22 ° Brix of soluble solids.
Characterisation data indicate that skin type can not be used as an indication for fruit characteristics, which goes against local “conventional wisdom”.
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