Manilkara zapota

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Manilkara zapota
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Manilkara
M. zapota
Binomial name
Manilkara zapota
(L.) P.Royen

See text

Sapodilla, raw
Fruit, cross-section
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy347 kJ (83 kcal)
19.96 g
Dietary fiber5.3 g
1.1 g
0.44 g
Riboflavin (B2)
0.02 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.2 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.252 mg
Vitamin B6
0.037 mg
Folate (B9)
14 μg
Vitamin C
14.7 mg
21 mg
0.8 mg
12 mg
12 mg
193 mg
12 mg
0.1 mg

Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[2] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[3]

Manilkara zapota, commonly known as sapodilla (Spanish: [ˌsapoˈðiʝa]),[4] sapote, chicozapote, chicoo, chicle, naseberry, nispero, or soapapple, among other names,[5][6] is an evergreen tree native to southern Mexico and Central America. An example natural occurrence is in coastal Yucatán, in the Petenes mangroves ecoregion, where it is a subdominant plant species.[7] It was introduced to the Philippines during Spanish colonization. It is grown in large quantities in Mexico and in tropical Asia, including India, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, as well as in the Caribbean.

The specific epithet zapota is from the Spanish zapote [saˈpote], which ultimately derives from the Nahuatl word tzapotl.


Sapodilla tree

Sapodilla can live up to one hundred years.[8][9] It can grow to more than 30 m (98 ft) tall with a trunk diameter of up to 1.5 m (5 ft). The average height of cultivated specimens, however, is usually between 9 and 15 m (30 and 49 ft) with a trunk diameter not exceeding 50 cm (20 in).[10] It is wind-resistant and the bark is rich in a white, gummy latex called chicle. The ornamental leaves are medium green and glossy. They are alternate, elliptic to ovate, 7–15 cm (3–6 in) long, with an entire margin. The white flowers are inconspicuous and bell-like, with a six-lobed corolla. An unripe fruit has a firm outer skin and when picked, releases white chicle from its stem. A fully ripened fruit has saggy skin and does not release chicle when picked.

The fruit is a large berry, 4–8 cm (2–3 in) in diameter.[11][12] Inside, its flesh ranges from a pale yellow to an earthy brown color with a grainy texture akin to that of a well-ripened pear. Each fruit contains one to six seeds.[12] The seeds are hard, glossy, and black, resembling beans, with a hook at one end that can catch in the throat if swallowed.

The fruit has an exceptionally sweet, malty flavor. The unripe fruit is hard to the touch and contains high amounts of saponin, which has astringent properties similar to tannin, drying out the mouth.

The trees can survive only in warm, typically tropical environments (although it has low tolerance to drought and heat in its early years),[13] dying easily if the temperature drops below freezing. From germination, the sapodilla tree will usually take anywhere from five to eight years to bear fruit. The sapodilla trees yield fruit twice a year, though flowering may continue year round.[14]

Other names[edit]

Sapodilla fruits being sold on a street in Guntur, India

Most of the common names of Manilkara zapota like "sapodilla", "chiku", and "chicozapote" come from Spanish meaning "little sapote".[6] Other common names in English include bully tree, soapapple tree, sawo, marmalade plum[15] and dilly tree.[citation needed]

Biological studies[edit]

Compounds extracted from the leaves showed anti-diabetic, antioxidant and hypocholesterolemic (cholesterol-lowering) effects in rats.[16]

Acetone extracts of the seeds exhibited in vitro antibacterial effects against strains of Pseudomonas oleovorans and Vibrio cholerae.[17]


Synonyms of this species include:[18]

  • Achradelpha mammosa (L.) O.F.Cook
  • Achras breviloba (Gilly) Lundell
  • Achras calderonii (Gilly) Lundell
  • Achras conzattii (Gilly) Lundell
  • Achras coriacea Lundell
  • Achras dactylina Lundell
  • Achras gaumeri (Gilly) Lundell
  • Achras latiloba Lundell
  • Achras lobulata (Lundell) Lundell
  • Achras lucuma Blanco
  • Achras mammosa L. nom. illeg.
  • Achras meridionalis (Gilly) Lundell
  • Achras occidentalis Cels ex Ten.
  • Achras paludosa Lundell
  • Achras petenensis (Lundell) Lundell
  • Achras rojasii (Gilly) Lundell
  • Achras sapatilla J.Paul & W.Arnold
  • Achras sapota L. [Spelling variant]
  • Achras striata (Gilly) Lundell
  • Achras tabogaensis (Gilly) Lundell
  • Achras tainteriana Lundell
  • Achras tchicoomame Perr.
  • Achras verrucosa Stokes
  • Achras zapota L.
  • Achras zapotilla (Jacq.) Nutt.
  • Calocarpum mammosum (L.) Pierre
  • Calospermum mammosum (L.) Pierre
  • Gambeya mammosa (L.) Pierre
  • Lucuma mammosa (L.) C.F.Gaertn.
  • Lucuma zapota (L.) Urb.
  • Manilkara achras (Mill.) Fosberg
  • Manilkara breviloba Gilly
  • Manilkara calderonii Gilly
  • Manilkara conzattii Gilly
  • Manilkara gaumeri Gilly
  • Manilkara grisebachii (Pierre) Dubard
  • Manilkara meridionalis Gilly
  • Manilkara rojasii Gilly
  • Manilkara striata Gilly
  • Manilkara tabogaensis Gilly
  • Manilkara zapotilla (Jacq.) Gilly
  • Manilkariopsis lobulata Lundell
  • Manilkariopsis meridionalis (Gilly) Lundell
  • Manilkariopsis petenensis Lundell
  • Manilkariopsis rojasii (Gilly) Lundell
  • Manilkariopsis striata (Gilly) Lundell
  • Manilkariopsis tabogaensis (Gilly) Lundell
  • Mimusops grisebachii Pierre
  • Nispero achras (Mill.) Aubrév.
  • Pouteria mammosa (L.) Cronquist
  • Sapota achras Mill.
  • Sapota zapotilla (Jacq.) Coville ex Safford
  • Vitellaria mammosa (L.) Radlk.


The fruit is edible and a favorite in the tropical Americas.[19] Chicle from the bark is used to make chewing gum.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Martínez Salas, E.; Samain, M. & Oldfield, S. (2021). "Manilkara zapota". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021: e.T61964429A61964470. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  2. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". Retrieved 2024-03-28.
  3. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Manilkara zapota". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  5. ^ "Manilkara zapota". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  6. ^ a b Small, Ernest (23 August 2011). Top 100 Exotic Food Plants. CRC Press. p. 515. ISBN 9781439856888.
  7. ^ World Wildlife Fund. eds. Mark McGinley, C.Michael Hogan & C. Cleveland. 2010. Petenes mangroves. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC Archived 2011-10-15 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Horticulture: Crop Plantation Guidence - The Sapota (Chickoo). India Agro. Retrieved 8 August, 2023.
  9. ^ Introduction to Sapota. Agri Farming. Retrieved 14 August, 2023.
  10. ^ Manilkara zapota Sapotaceae (L.) van Royen, Orwa C, Mutua A, Kindt R, Jamnadass R, Simons A. 2009. Agroforestree Database:a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0 (
  11. ^ Flora of North America, vol. 8
  12. ^ a b Harris, Kate (2009). Trees of Belize. Belize: Bay Cedar Publishing. pp. 94–95. ISBN 9780992758202.
  13. ^ Growing Sapodilla: Manilkara zapota. Garden Oracle. Retrieved 8 August, 2023. "Heat tolerant: These trees have difficulty when young, over 90°F, and when mature, over 105°F. They will need afternoon shade and extra water in these temperatures. Drought tolerant: Yes, after three years."
  14. ^ Kute, L.S.; Shete, M.B. (1995). "Sapota (Sapodilla)". Handbook of Fruit Science and Technology. CRC Press. pp. 475–476. doi:10.1201/9781482273458-31. ISBN 9780429152733. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  15. ^ "Manilkara zapota". European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO). Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  16. ^ Fayek NM, Monem AR, Mossa MY, Meselhy MR, Shazly AH (2012). "Chemical and biological study of Manilkara zapota (L.) Van Royen leaves (Sapotaceae) cultivated in Egypt". Pharmacognosy Research. 4 (2): 85–91. doi:10.4103/0974-8490.94723. PMC 3326762. PMID 22518080.
  17. ^ Kothari V, Seshadri S (2010). "In vitro antibacterial activity in seed extracts of Manilkara zapota, Anona squamosa, and Tamarindus indica". Biol. Res. 43 (2): 165–8. doi:10.4067/S0716-97602010000200003. PMID 21031260.
  18. ^ The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 18 October 2015
  19. ^ Hargreaves, Dorothy; Hargreaves, Bob (1964). Tropical Trees of Hawaii. Kailua, Hawaii: Hargreaves. p. 14.

External links[edit]