Manilkara zapota

This plant produces fruit that taste like brown sugar when ripe. The foliage is extremely glossy and attractive.                                                                                                                  

Scientific classification:

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Angiosperms
Class: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Manilkara
Species: zapota

Manilkara zapota

Natural habitat and growing conditions:

The Sapodilla is a tree native to Central America and the Caribbian, often on limestone-based soils of high pH. It requires a tropical climate and is not tolerant of frost. The plant is somewhat salt-tolerant and seems happiest with good drainage and regular water.

Notes of interest:

  • Sapodilla sap (called 'chichle') was harvested as the original source of chewing gum; trees would be "bled" of their sap much as rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensisi) are bled for their latex, though the plants are not closely related. In the 1960's, gum manufacturers switched to using less-expensive synthetic rubber for gum base.
  • Sapodilla are still grown and prized for their sweet fruit.