Manilkara zapota (sapodilla)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Threatened Species
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Wood Products
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Manilkara zapota (L.) P. Royen
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Achradelpha mammosa O. F. Cook, nom. illeg.
- 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 sapota
- Achras striata (Gilly) Lundell
- Achras tabogaensis (Gilly) Lundell
- Achras tainteriana Lundell
- Achras tchicomame Perr.
- Achras verrucosa Stokes
- Achras zapota L.
- Achras zapota var. zapotilla Jacq.
- Achras zapotilla (Jacq.) Nutt.
- Calocarpum mammosum Pierre, nom. illeg.
- Calospermum mammosum (L.) Pierre
- Lucuma mammosa C. F. Gaertn., nom. illeg.
- 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
- Nispero achras
- Pouteria mammosa (L.) Cronquist
- Sapota achras Mill.
- Sapota zapotilla (Jacq.) Coville
- Vitellaria mammosa (L.) Radlk.
International Common Names
- English: naseberry; noseberry
- Spanish: chicozapote; nisperillo; nispero; sapotillo; zapota; zapote; zapotillo
- French: sapotier; sapotillier
- Portuguese: sapoti; sapotilheira
Local Common Names
- Cambodia: lomut
- El Salvador: nipero
- Germany: Brei-Apfelbaum; Sapotillbaum
- Haiti: sapotillier; sapotillier commun
- India: chikoo
- Indonesia: ciku; sawo londo; sawo manila
- Italy: sapota
- Laos: lamud
- Lesser Antilles: bully tree
- Malaysia: ciku
- Mexico: chicle; chicle zapote; chicozapote
- Netherlands: pruimboom, Sapodilla; sapodilleboom
- Philippines: chico
- Suriname: mispel; mispu
- Thailand: lamut; lamut-farang
- Vietnam: hong xiem; tam lu'c; xaboche
- MNKZA (Manilkara zapota)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
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.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Ebenales
- Family: Sapotaceae
- Genus: Manilkara
- Species: Manilkara zapota
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Manilkara is a genus of trees in the family Sapotaceae, widespread in the Old and New World tropics and subtropics. The generic name derives from 'manil-kara', a vernacular name in the Malayalam language of south India for Manilkara kauki, the type species for the genus (Quattrocchi, 2000). With regard to Manilkara zapota (chiku or sapodilla), the specific epithet is believed to derive from the Aztec language (Nahuatl) word 'tzapotl' which means a soft, sweet fruit. M. zapota has a vast number of common names, reflecting its widespread cultivation around the world. The taxonomic treatment of the species has been and is equally confused, with The Plant List giving 33 synonyms under the generic name Achras, 12 under Manilkara, 4 under Sapota and 10 others. The name M. zapota was validly published by Van Royen in Blumea (1953) 7:410. There are no subordinate taxa.
Being a cultivated fruit crop, numerous cultivars exist, often bearing local names; in many cases names in different localities are presumably synonyms. In Indonesia, two groups of cultivars are distinguished: (i) the Sawo manila type with ovoid fruit, including Sawo Betawi and Sawo Kulan; and (ii) the Sawo apel type with globose fruits, e.g. Sawo Apel Benar and Sawo Apel Lilin. In the Philippines, the small-fruited, prolific Pineras is most common. Ponderosa has large fruits of excellent quality but they do not soften uniformly after harvest, and trees require cross-pollination for good yield. Other cultivars are Sao Manila and Gonzalez. Well-known Thai cultivars are the small-fruited Krasuey, the fairly large-fruited Kai Hahn and the medium-sized, globose Makok. Popular cultivars in Malaysia are Santong, C54 and C58. In Queensland, Australia, cultivars from various countries have been evaluated, the most promising being Kai Hahn, Makok, C58, Tropical, BKD110 and Sao Manila.
DescriptionTop of page
M. zapota is an evergreen, slow-growing tree, 5-20 m in cultivation but reaching up to 40 m in height in the forest, with an average trunk diameter of 1.5 m. The crown is pyramidal to rounded. Branches are horizontal or drooping. Leaves are 5-13 cm long with pointed ends, stiff and alternate, clustering at ends of shoots, pinkish upon emergence, turning light green, then darkening with age. Flowers are inconspicuous, bell-shaped, and white, 0.9 cm in diameter and borne singly or in clusters in leaf axils near the tips of branches. The fruit is a berry, round to oval or conical, 5-10 cm in diameter, weighing 100 to 400 g (some cultivars weigh up to 1 kg).. Fruits mature year-round, but most abundantly from May to September. They are covered with a hairy, brown peel and have very sweet, light-brown to reddish-brown pulpy flesh, gritty to smooth in texture. Each fruit has 0-12 flattened, shiny, black seeds, each 1.9 cm in diameter. Larger trees have red-brown bark with a flaky appearance. A milky latex which exudes from all tree parts coagulates into “chicle”, the principal constituent of chewing gum before the advent of synthetics (Balerdi et al., 2013; Kaufman and Kaufman, 2013).
Plant TypeTop of page Broadleaved
DistributionTop of page
M. zapota is native to Mexico and Central America (Govaerts, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017). It has been introduced as a fruit tree across tropical and subtropical America, the West Indies, India, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia, which are among the largest producers of sapodilla fruit, as well as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, (Morton, 1987; Mickelbart, 1996).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Planted||Reference||Notes|
|Brunei Darussalam||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Cambodia||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|China||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|India||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|-Karnataka||Present||Introduced||India Biodiversity Portal, 2016||Cultivated|
|-Kerala||Present||Introduced||India Biodiversity Portal, 2016||Cultivated|
|-Maharashtra||Present||Introduced||India Biodiversity Portal, 2016||Cultivated|
|-Puducherry||Present||Introduced||India Biodiversity Portal, 2016||Cultivated|
|-Tamil Nadu||Present||Introduced||India Biodiversity Portal, 2016||Cultivated|
|Indonesia||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|-Nusa Tenggara||Present||Introduced||Coronel, 1991|
|Israel||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Laos||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Malaysia||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Myanmar||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Pakistan||Present||Introduced||Flora of Pakistan, 2017||Cultivated|
|Philippines||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Singapore||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Thailand||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Vietnam||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Bermuda||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|USA||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Florida||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Planted||Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2001; USDA-NRCS, 2017|
Central America and Caribbean
|Antigua and Barbuda||Present||Introduced||Broome et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Bahamas||Widespread||Introduced||Kairo et al., 2003||Naturalized|
|Barbados||Present||Introduced||Broome et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|British Virgin Islands||Present||Introduced||Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012||Guana, Tortola|
|Cayman Islands||Present||Introduced||Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Costa Rica||Present||Native||Govaerts, 2017|
|Cuba||Present||Introduced||Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Dominica||Present||Introduced||Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Dominican Republic||Present||Introduced||Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012||Cultivated and naturalized|
|El Salvador||Present||Native||Govaerts, 2017|
|Guadeloupe||Present||Introduced||Broome et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Haiti||Present||Introduced||Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Jamaica||Present||Introduced||Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Martinique||Present||Introduced||Broome et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Netherlands Antilles||Present||Introduced||Broome et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Puerto Rico||Present||Introduced||Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Saint Lucia||Present||Introduced||Broome et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Present||Introduced||Broome et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Sint Eustatius||Present||Introduced||Broome et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Trinidad and Tobago Biodiversity, 2017|
|United States Virgin Islands||Present||Introduced||Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Argentina||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Bolivia||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|-Espirito Santo||Present||Introduced||Almeida, 2015||Cultivated|
|-Mato Grosso do Sul||Present||Introduced||Almeida, 2015||Cultivated|
|-Minas Gerais||Present||Introduced||Almeida, 2015||Cultivated|
|-Rio de Janeiro||Present||Introduced||Almeida, 2015||Cultivated|
|-Sao Paulo||Present||Introduced||Almeida, 2015||Cultivated|
|Chile||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Colombia||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009; Govaerts, 2017|
|Ecuador||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|French Guiana||Present||Introduced||Funk et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Guyana||Present||Introduced||Funk et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Paraguay||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Peru||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Suriname||Present||Introduced||Funk et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Uruguay||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Venezuela||Present||Introduced||Funk et al., 2007||Cultivated and naturalized|
|Australia||Present||Introduced||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Cook Islands||Present||Introduced||McCormack, 2013||Cultivated|
|French Polynesia||Present||Introduced||Florence et al., 2013|
|Marshall Islands||Present||Introduced||PIER, 2017|
|Micronesia, Federated states of||Present||Introduced||Herrera et al., 2010|
|New Caledonia||Present||Introduced||MacKee, 1994|
|Wake Island||Present||Introduced||PIER, 2017|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
M. zapota was introduced as a fruit tree by native people in ancient times to most of tropical America, the West Indies, Bermuda, the Florida Keys and southern mainland Florida (Morton, 1987). It was also introduced as a fruit crop to other tropical and subtropical regions of the world including Asia, Africa and several islands in the Pacific region (Mickelbart, 1996; Govaerts, 2017; PIER, 2017; PROTA, 2017).
In the United States, this species was possibly introduced as early as the 16th century in Florida (Kaufman and Kaufman, 2013) and grown as a crop as early as 1883 (Gordon and Thomas, 1997). M. zapota was widely cultivated in the Florida Keys, from where it escaped into the surrounding Keys, hammocks, old fields and other habitats. It was found by 1989 reproducing and spreading at Paradise Key and Pine Island in Everglades National Park (Whiteaker and Doren, 1989), and subsequently recorded from 50 conservation areas across south Florida in rockland hammocks, coastal areas and disturbed uplands (Gann et al., 2015). Expanding populations of all age classes have been observed in Key Largo, while dense monocultures have been reported from Everglades National Park and scattered trees found in Biscayne National Park, Deering Estate and Long Key State Park (Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2001).
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Wherever M. zapota plantations are established there is a risk of seed escape into surrounding areas.
HabitatTop of page
M. zapota grows well in a wide range of climatic conditions from wet tropics to dry cool subtropical areas. It thrives in the tropics, but it is found in large numbers at elevations up to 2500 m in Ecuador and also in the subtropics (i.e., Israel) (Coronel, 1991; Orwa et al., 2009). In central and southern Florida it grows in the more elevated parts of hardwood hammocks. It is particularly well adapted to the rocky, highly calcareous, well-drained soils found in southern Florida, but also to slightly alkaline and medium-textured loams (Balerdi et al., 2013; Kaufman and Kaufman, 2013).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Principal habitat||Productive/non-natural|
|Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Principal habitat||Productive/non-natural|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Natural forests||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Natural forests||Present, no further details||Productive/non-natural|
|Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Productive/non-natural|
|Wetlands||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rocky areas / lava flows||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rocky areas / lava flows||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Coastal areas||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Coastal areas||Principal habitat||Natural|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Due to the intense shading caused by M. zapota trees, native plants cannot survive easily in the understorey.
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Genetic improvement programmes involving hybridization to improve fruit yields and characteristics in cultivated M. zapota have been carried out since the 1950s (Sambamurty and Ramalingam, 1954). The chromosome number is 2n = 26 (Peiris, 2014).
Flowers of M. zapota are bisexual. Open pollination often occurring in this species results in a high degree of genetic variability within populations. Flowers are visited and pollinated by insects, primarily bees. Cultivars result from clonal propagation of selected seedling trees. The major objectives in varietal improvement are large fruit size, good eating quality and seedless fruits. Controlled hybridization started in India in the 1950s, but this has not yet resulted in the introduction of new cultivars (Coronel, 1991).
Physiology and Phenology
Flowers are produced in the leaf axils near the tips of young or mature shoots. These shoot tips have greatly shortened internodes, so that the flowers appear to be borne in clusters. Flowering may take place throughout the year but the peak of flowering in the Philippines is April to June, early in the rainy season. Observation of two cultivars in the Philippines showed that flower buds reach anthesis 45-60 days after emergence. The stigma is receptive between one day before and three days after flower opening; on the day of opening it is sticky with stigmatic fluid. Self-fertile cultivars produce much pollen, which is viable. Cross-pollination by insects, e.g. bees, is recommended and is necessary for low-yielding cultivars, most of which produce little pollen, which is defective.
Fruit growth as observed in India proceeds in three distinct stages: in the first 16 weeks diameter exceeds length; after a transitory period of 4 weeks the fruit assumes its characteristic oblong-ovoid shape and takes another 9 weeks to ripen. The fruits take about 6-8.5 months to mature so that, in the Philippines, the main harvest season is from December to February. In Thailand the fruit is more seasonal and abundant from September to December. According to Morton (1987), trees bear fruits from May to September in Florida, with a peak in June and July. In Mexico, there are two peak seasons: February-April and October-December.
Growth and Development
Trees are long-lived and slow-growing. The seeds of M. zapota germinate about 30 days after sowing without any treatment and exhibit an epigeal type of germination; they can, however, remain viable for several years if kept dry. Seedlings grow very slowly, producing a central stem that dominates the whorls of laterals in trees with an upright habit; the spreading habit is achieved by more prominent sympodial extension of the laterals. In an equable climate some extending shoots can be found at any time, but trees relieved from stress may seem to produce a general flush. Seedling trees start to flower 6-10 or more years after planting; grafted trees in 4-6 years and marcotted trees in 3-4 years.
Ecology and Environmental Requirements
Sapodilla is a very adaptable species. It thrives in the tropics, where it can be found in large numbers at elevations up to 2500 m in Ecuador, and also in the subtropics (Israel). Mature trees are very drought resistant, doing well in the monsoon climates of India; young trees are less tolerant of drought. With its tough branches, the tree tolerates strong winds and salt sprays close to coasts. Young trees are damaged or killed at temperatures from 0 to -1°C or less, but mature trees can withstand temperatures down to about -3°C for a few hours. Trees are moderately tolerant of flooded soil and tolerant of windy conditions (Balerdi et al., 2013). However, growth and fruit quality are impaired in extreme environments; the tree thrives in warm, moist tropical lowlands, usually below 600 m in South-East Asia. The best soil for sapodilla is a rich, well drained, sandy loam, with a pH of 4-7, but few soils are unsuitable and sapodilla comes second after the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) in the category of fruit trees with high tolerance of saline soils.
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-3||0|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||23||31|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||30||35|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||22||24|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||6||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||750||2700||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page Bimodal
Soil TolerancesTop of page
- seasonally waterlogged
Special soil tolerances
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Bactrocera dorsalis||Herbivore||Fruits/pods||not specific|
|Erythricium salmonicolor||Pathogen||Stems||not specific|
|Eustalodes anthivora||Herbivore||Inflorescence||not specific|
|Maravalia sapotae||Pathogen||Leaves||not specific|
|Niphonoclea albata||Herbivore||Stems||not specific|
|Niphonoclea capito||Herbivore||Stems||not specific|
|Phaeophleospora indica||Pathogen||Leaves||not specific|
|Uredo sapotae||Pathogen||Leaves||to genus|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Pink disease (Erythricium salmonicolor) is a canker that kills infected branches, while the leaf rusts Uredo sapotae and Maravalia sapotae cause minor leaf damage. In India, a leaf spot disease, Phaeophleospora indica, has been reported. The larvae of Trypetidae fruit flies are serious pests, as they infest the ripe fruit and render it unfit for consumption. Ceratitis capitata, the Mediterranean fruit fly, and Anastrepha ludens, the Mexican fruit fly, are two of the most troublesome species. Rhyparida beetles may damage new leaves (Orwa et al., 2009).
Some insect pests may inflict serious damage to trees. In Asia, larvae of the oriental fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis feed on the flesh of ripe fruit making it unfit for consumption. The larvae of the phycitid fruit borer (Alophia sp.) attack the fruits at all stages of development. The larvae of the gelechiid moth (Eustalodes anthivora) feed on the flowers causing them to drop. Larvae of the twig-borers Niphonoclea albata and N. capito tunnel into the twigs and pupate inside, while the adult beetles girdle the branches. Mealybugs and aphids feed on the leaves, young shoots, flowers and young fruits. Scale insects cluster around the twigs and branches and along the leaf midribs, causing leaf drop and twig dieback.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
The large seed size of M. zapota indicates that dispersal is effected through ingestion by large animals, such as Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) in southern Mexico, rather than by wind or very small animals (O’Farrill et al., 2011). Seed is also dispersed by raccoons and opossums in Florida (Langeland et al., 2014).
M. zapota is widely planted throughout the tropical regions of Asia and the Americas as a fruit crop and for the production of chicle and fuelwood (USDA-ARS, 2015).
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Escape from confinement or garden escape||Yes|
|Horticulture||Yes||Yes||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Medicinal use||Yes||Yes||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Ornamental purposes||Yes||Yes||Orwa et al., 2009|
|People foraging||Fruits eaten by humans||Yes||Yes||Orwa et al., 2009|
|Timber trade||Yes||Yes||Orwa et al., 2009|
Economic ImpactTop of page
There are costs involved in eradicating M. zapota from native habitats in Florida.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact on Habitats
Trees of M. zapota cast dense shade, making it difficult for other plants to survive in the understorey. Seedlings also grow very densely, inhibiting the establishment of other plants including native species (Kaufman and Kaufman, 2013).
Impacts on Biodiversity
In parts of Florida, non-native invasive plants, including M. zapota, pose a threat to native plant species, notably the endangered Chromolaena frustrata (Cape Sable thoroughwort), Consolea corallicola (Florida semaphore cactus) and Harrisia aboriginum (aboriginal prickly-apple). Invasives compete with native plants for space, light, water and nutrients, and they have caused population declines in all three species. C. frustrata and C. corallicola have been extirpated from half of the islands where they occurred in the Florida Keys, and threats of competition from non-native plants and habitat loss still exist in the remaining populations. H. aboriginum has been extirpated from the northern extent of its range in Manatee County, and threats of poaching, competition from non-native plant species and habitat loss still exist in the remaining populations. Plans are proposed to remove invaders from habitats and develop plant communities of predominately native vegetation with either no or few competitive non-native, invasive plant species (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012); this is particularly the case for the critical habitat designated in coastal berm for C. frustrata (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014).
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Chromolaena frustrata||USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Florida||Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012|
|Consolea corallicola (Florida semaphore cactus)||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Florida||Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012|
|Harrisia aboriginum (Aboriginal prickly-apple)||NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Florida||Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012|
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Pioneering in disturbed areas
- Tolerant of shade
- Long lived
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Has high genetic variability
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Modification of successional patterns
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Threat to/ loss of endangered species
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - shading
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
Sapodilla is grown mainly for its fruit which is predominantly eaten fresh. The fruits may also be used in sherbets or ice cream or made into preserves, butter or jam. The juice may be boiled into syrup or fermented into wine or vinegar.
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 (Verheij and Coronel, 1991). As this gum is still used in the manufacture of transmission belts, in dental surgery, and as a substitute for gutta percha (a coagulum of the latex of Palaquium spp., also in the Sapotaceae, which had many applications in industry before the advent of plastics), M. zapota is still grown for latex in countries such as Mexico, Venezuela and Guatemala (Mickelbart, 1996).
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 plant is a source of saponin. The tree is widely planted as an ornamental, with attractive bark, and can be an invasive weed.
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 (Krishnapillay et al., 1993).
M. zapota is also grown as a landscape tree and ornamental, with attractive bark.
Uses ListTop of page
Human food and beverage
- Beverage base
- Honey/honey flora
- Carved material
- Miscellaneous materials
- Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
- Christmas tree
- Cut flower
- garden plant
- Potted plant
- Propagation material
- Seed trade
Wood ProductsTop of page
Sawn or hewn building timbers
- For heavy construction
- For light construction
- Wood carvings
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Wild dilly (Manilkara jaimiqui subsp. emarginata), a native species from south Florida, can be differentiated from M. zapota by its smaller fruits (to 4 cm) and dull, grey-green leaves (Langeland et al., 2008).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
M. zapota seedlings can be pulled up by hand. Triclopyr mixed with oil can be applied as a basal bark treatment. Larger trees may require several applications. Cut stumps should also be treated with triclopyr (Kaufman and Kaufman, 2013; Langeland et al., 2014).
BibliographyTop of page Clarke FFG, 1954. Eustalodes anthivora (Gelechiidae, Lepidoptera), a new pest of Achras zapota in the Philippines. The Philippine Agriculturists, 37: 450-454.
Coronel RE, 1966. That chico called Ponderosa. Agriculture at Los Baños, 5: 1-3.
De Peralta E, de la Cruz EJ, 1954. Preliminary study on the vegetative propagation of the chico. Araneta Journal of Agriculture, 2: 25-32.
Gonzalez LG, Fabella EL, 1952. Intergeneric graft-affinity of the chico. The Philippine Agriculturists, 35: 402-407.
Gonzalez LG, Feliciano Jr. PA, 1953. The blooming and fruiting habits of the Ponderosa chico. The Philippine Agriculturists, 37: 384-398.
Moncur WM, 1988. Floral development of tropical and subtropical fruit and nut species. An atlas of scanning election micrographs. Natural Resources Series No 8. Division Water and Land Resources, CSIRO, Melbourne, 171-174.
Moore HE, Stearn WT, 1967. The identity of Achras zapota L. and the names for the sapodilla and the sapote. Taxon, 16:382-395.
Schroeder CA, 1958. The origin, spread and improvement of the avocado, sapodilla and papaya. Indian Journal of Horticulture, 15:116-128.
ReferencesTop of page
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ContributorsTop of page
03/04/17 Updated by:
Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA
29/06/15 Updated by:
Andrew Praciak, Consultant, UK
Distribution MapsTop of page
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