Manilkara zapota
Common Name: sapodilla 
Type: Tree
Family: Sapotaceae
Native Range: Central America, Colombia, Mexico
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 30.00 to 60.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Pinkish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11 where is easily grown in moist, fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Good drought tolerance once established. Plants are intolerant of frost.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Manilkara zapota, commonly called chicle or sapodilla, is a slender, slow-growing, pyramidal evergreen tree that is native from southern Mexico to Costa Rica. It typically grows to 30-60' tall in cultivation, but may reach 100' tall in forested areas of its native habitat. Trees often develop more open-rounded crowns as they mature. This tree is noted for its edible fruits (reminiscent of candied pear), chicle (latex from which chewing gum is made) and durable wood (timbers, railroad ties, tool handles). Stiff glossy evergreen leaves (to 5" long) appear in spiral clusters at the branch ends. Small, bell-like, pinkish-white flowers bloom in the leaf axils in spring, but sometimes will appear throughout the year. Flowers are followed by rough-skinned, conical to oval fruits (to 2-4" wide). Ripe fruits are tan-brown in color with a sweet edible pulp. In south Florida, fruits typically appear from May to September.

Genus name comes from Malabar (South Indian) vernacular name cited by van Rheede in 1683.

Specific epithet is from a South American name.


No serious insect or disease problems. In South Florida, this tree has naturalized in some areas to the detriment of native species (listed as invasive by the Florida Exotic Plant Council).


Ornamental landscape tree. Shade tree. Also grown for harvest of chicle and/or fruit.