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Tree Description: Sapodilla have an exquisite flavor that tastes like a pear that has been soaked in brown sugar. Recent selections of improved varieties have a very fine texture and incredibly large fruit size. The fruit are most often eaten fresh, but they are great in milk shakes and cooked dishes as well. The fruit size and tree size can vary according to variety, but all varieties begin to bear at one to two years of age. Click the link for the sapodilla viewer for cultivar specific information. Avg. Height x Width: 20' x 20'. Season: December to October. Damage Temp: 28F.

Scientific Name: Manilkara zapota

Common Name: Sapodilla

Family: Sapotaceae

Relatives: Abiu,sapote, canistel, lucma

Origin: Tropical America

Distribution: Sapodilla is grown on a commercial basis in India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mexico, Venezuela, Guatemala, and some other Central American countries. India is the largest producer of sapodilla fruit with current production around 24,000 ha. Sapodilla is widely planted in south Florida, where the fruit is marketed locally and shipped to northern and eastern U.S. markets. The fruit, however, is not commonly seen in the United States. In southern Mexico and Central America where sapodilla is native, it is considered to be one of the best of the tropical fruits.

History: The sapodilla is believed native to Yucatan and possibly other nearby parts of southern Mexico, as well as northern Belize and Northeastern Guatemala. In this region there were once 100,000,000 trees. The species is found in forests throughout Central America where it has apparently been cultivated since ancient times.

Importance: Wild and cultivated trees in America are tapped for their milky latex which is used to produce chicle (15% rubber, 38% resin), the principal constituent of chewing gum before the advent of synthetic compounds. The wood is an excellent material for making cabinets and furniture. The timber is valuable, as it is deep red in colour, very hard and strong. The wood is also used in jewellery. A leaf tea is used to treat fevers, wounds and ulcers.The seeds are antipyretic. In Indonesia, the flowers are used as one of the ingredients in preparing a powder which is rubbed on the body of a woman after childbirth. The tannin from the bark is used to tan ship sails and fishing tackle; in Cambodia the tannin is used in traditional medicine to cure diarrhoea and fever.