The original tree reportedly grew from a 'Haden' seed planted in 1922 by Carl King of Lake Worth, Florida. A 2005 pedigree analysis estimated that 'Zill' may have been a cross between 'Haden' and 'Bombay'. The tree later came into the possession of Laurence H. Zill, a horticulturalist and nursery owner whose family name the cultivar was named after. The tree first fruited in 1930, and 'Zill' began to be propagated by Lawrence Zill in 1940. The cultivar was named and described in 1945.
Thereafter 'Zill' became heavily propagated due to its color, eating quality, and good production. It was planted commercially and widely sold as nurserystock. While it fell out of favor as a commercial mango due to poor storage characteristics, 'Zill' is now commercially grown in Africa and is still sold as a dooryard tree for home growers in Florida.
'Zill' trees are planted in the collections of the USDA's germplasm repository in Miami, Florida, the University of Florida's Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida, and the Miami-Dade Fruit and Spice Park, also in Homestead.
The fruit is oval to ovate in shape, with a rounded base and rounded apex, and contains a small lateral beak. The fruit average slightly under a pound in weight at maturity. The thin skin is yellow with dark red blush covering much of it. The flesh is yellow and fiberless, with a sweet flavor and strong aroma that are sometimes compared to pineapple. It contains a monoembryonic seed. 'Zill' typically ripens from May to July in Florida, though fruit have a tendency to ripen all at once during a 2 week period. Fruit production is considered good.
The trees are vigorous growers that develop large, spreading canopies.
- http://www.fshs.org/Proceedings/Password%20Protected/1954%20Vol.%2067/284-290%20%28LEDIN%29.pdf Page 3, Table 1
- http://www.crec.ifas.ufl.edu/academics/faculty/burns/pdf/192-197.pdf Page 193
- http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1554868 USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database] National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
- http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/crane/pdfs/TREC-Fruit-Collections.pdf Page 4, #119
- Campbell, Richard J. (1992). A Guide to Mangos in Florida. Fairchild Tropical Garden. p. 187. ISBN 0-9632264-0-1.
- http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg216 Table 1