Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Manilkara zapota (sapodilla).

Abstract

M. zapota, commonly known as sapodilla, is an evergreen tree, 5-20 m tall, with a round, dense crown. Its native range encompasses Central America, Mexico and the West Indies, but it is now widely cultivated for its fruit to a greater or lesser extent in tropical and subtropical lowlands worldwide. It is an important fruit tree all over South-East Asia, grown in home gardens, orchards and plantations. The largest producers of sapodilla fruit are India, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia, but it is also grown commercially elsewhere in Asia, South and Central America, and Florida in the USA. Escapes from plantations have caused the species to be classed as a moderately invasive weed in the tropics (Binggeli et al., 1998), although in the USA it is of particular concern in southern and central Florida, where it is classed as a Category I invasive displacing the native flora (Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2001). It is also listed as invasive in Trinidad and Tobago (Trinidad and Tobago Biodiversity, 2017). Trees cast dense shade, making it difficult for other plants to survive in the understorey. Seedlings also grow very densely, inhibiting the establishment of native plant species.