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Hand Pollination
India: Hybrid variety of custard apple, Arka Sahan

Arka Sahan is a hybrid variety of custard apple, created out of cross combination of species of Annona, by the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore, reports Asha Krishnaswamy

Bigger, tastier: The Arka Sahan variety of custard apples developed by the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research. If you are a fruit freak, then the custard apple cultivated by Indian Institute of Horticultural Research of Bangalore is just the one for you. These huge fruits are like the common custard apple in certain ways but are far superior in many other ways.

Cultivated by IIHR, the custard apple is called Arka Sahan. September being the season for harvesting the fruit, the trees at the IIHR campus in Hesarghatta are laden with fruits, each weighing not less than 300 to 500 gms. Arka Sahan is the result of 17 years of constant experimentation by scientists - S H Jalikop and P Sampath Kumar.  The two scientists, it seems, have redefined the taste of sugar by way of these custard apples, which are also called sugar apples. Like many hybrid fruits and vegetables, the Arka Sahan variety is also big. The properties, especially the taste, match the size.

Unlike the common custard apple, the pulp in the hybrid has to be scooped out with a spoon. There are fewer and smaller seeds which do not stick to the pulp. It has a mild pleasant aroma, making Arka Sahan a distinct one. Because the skin is tough, the ripening process is slow and storage is easier. The easy way to eat the fruit is to cut it open into two halves using a knife.

While Jalikop conducted experiments on developing the fruit without a break, Sampath Kumar worked on the project for eight years. Jalikop proudly says that no variety of custard apple in the world can match Arka Sahan. It has been developed by isolating an extremely rare recombinant from more than 3,000 hybrids in the family of Annona cherimola X A squamosa X A Squamosa.


Publication date: 9/28/2010


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