Definitions

sapodilla

sapodilla

[sap-uh-dil-uh]
sapodilla, the edible fruit of Manilkara zapota (formerly Achras zapota), of the family Sapotaceae. The fleshy, brown fruit is the size of a small tomato, and has the flavor and texture of cinnamon, apple, and pear. The fruits are very astringent when young and must be fully ripened and soft to be eaten. The latex of the sapodilla plant is also the source of chicle, the chewing gum of the Aztecs. Another species, M. bidentata, produces a latex that is the source of balata, a non-elastic rubber that is used for manufacturing boots, machine belts, and items in tropical South America. Sapodilla is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Ebenales, family Sapotaceae.

Sapodilla (Manilkara, or Achras, zapota)

Tropical evergreen tree (Manilkara zapota) of the family Sapotaceae, native to southern Mexico and northern Central America, and its distinctive fruit. The rusty-brown fruit is eaten fresh in many tropical and subtropical areas. Its sweet flavour has been compared to a combination of pears and brown sugar. When the fruit is ripe, its shiny black seeds are surrounded by clear, yellowish brown, juicy flesh; when immature, its flesh contains both tannin and milky latex and is distasteful. The latex is the chief source of gum chicle, once important in the chewing-gum industry.

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Sapodilla (Manilkara zapota) is a long-lived, evergreen tree native to the New World tropics. It is a native of Mexico and was introduced to the Philippines during Spanish colonisation.

Description

Sapodilla grows to 30-40 m tall. 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 long, with an entire margin.

The white flowers are inconspicuous and bell-like, with a six-lobed corolla.

The fruit is a large globose berry, 4-8 cm in diameter, very much resembling a smooth-skinned potato and containing 2-10 seeds. 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.

The flavour is exceptionally sweet and very tasty. The fruit's flavor has been compared to cotton candy or caramel. The unripe fruit is hard to the touch and contains high amounts of saponin similar to tannin which dry out the mouth.

The seeds are black and resemble beans, with a hook at one end that can catch in the throat if swallowed.

The sapodilla trees yield fruit twice a year, though flowering may continue year round. The fruit has a high latex content and does not ripen until picked. Some are round and some are oval with pointed ends.

Other Names

Sapodilla was formerly often known by the invalid name Achras sapota. It is known as chikoo or sapota in India, sofeda in Eastern India & Bangladesh, chikoo (also spelled "chikku," "चिक्कू," "chiku," "चीकू," or "ciku") in South Asia and Pakistan, chico in the Philippines, sawo in Indonesia, ciku in Malaysia, hồng xiêm (xa pô chê) in Vietnam, sapodilla in Guyana sapodilla or rata-mi in Sri Lanka, lamoot (ละมุด) in Thailand and Cambodia, níspero in Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Dominican Republic and Venezuela, nípero in Cuba and Dominican Republic, dilly in the Bahamas, naseberry in the rest of the West Indies, and sapoti in Brazil. In Kelantanese Malay, the fruit is called "sawo nilo" which is closer to the original name than the standard Malay "ciku".

See also

External links and references

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