Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sapodilla, Nispero
Manilkara zapota

Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Manilkara (man-il-KAR-uh) (Info)
Species: zapota (zuh-POH-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Manilcara achras
Synonym:Sapota achras
Synonym:Achras zapota
Synonym:Manilkara chiku

One vendor has this plant for sale.

11 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
By grafting

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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8 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive jen_1956 On Apr 4, 2010, jen_1956 from manchester
United Kingdom wrote:

i came accross this plant/fruit whilst i was in Benidorm Spain 2 years ago the fruit was unbeivable i brought 4 seeds home to England and potted them up in my conservatory within weeks i had 4 strong seedlings last spring i planted them out in my garden and they have done wonderfully i now have 4 strong sturdy small trees they have even survived the terrible winter we have just had, what i would like to know from anyone is what if the possibilities of them bearing fruit and what age should this be ?

Neutral DaveBilling On Jan 20, 2010, DaveBilling from Altos Del Maria
Panama wrote:

Please excuse my rambling.

I recently moved to Panama and my Spanish is practically non-existent. My wife and I recently bought 3 brown fruits that looked a lot like avocados with a very tough skin. We had no idea what to do with them but they were hard so we figured it was a vegetable and tried it in a soup. It never softened with cooking and there was a gummy deposit all around the pot top and lid. Later we were told "It's a fruit stupid. Put it in a brown paper bag and wait" We let them over ripen so just planted the seeds that look like tiny eggplants. They haven't germinated yet. By the way our monkey liked the very ripe fruit.

So, I want to plant indigenous trees on my property and one lumber that is popular here is Nispero. It is a very hard, dense dark wood. After reading here I am becoming suspicious that the Zapota (sapote) seeds I have outside in pots is the very Nispero tree I've been trying to find (Manilkara zapota). Is that right?

Positive tmccullo On Aug 14, 2006, tmccullo from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Interesting that the sapodilla is called nisperos in Cuba. My wife is from Argentina and a they call the Loquat a nispero. Anyway, we got some fruit from the sapodilla in South Texas and planted them. Now we have about 10 seedling growing. I can't wait to see how they do here. The fruit is great!

Positive jandouw On Aug 3, 2004, jandouw from Staten Island, NY wrote:

This and mango are my all-time favorite fruits, but mango does take second place. I've always thought of the flavor as being reminiscent of honey.

You can usually tell that the fruit is ready to be picked when the little 1/4" 'pin' at the end of the fruit farthest from the stem falls off. However, it sounds like your bird may not wait that long. You might be able to protect the fruits on the tree by tying a clear or white plastic bag around them. If you must pick them early, keeping them in a brown paper bag will do wonders to ripen them quickly and well. This technique works for all tropical fruits.

BTW, the Thais refer to it as lamut (la-MOOT), and in the Dutch West Indies it is known as "mispel" (MISS-pull; Dutch and Papiamentu) or "messapple" (MESS-ah-PULL; English).

Positive foodiesleuth On Jul 31, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

There is an exotic fruit nursery/grove not too far from us and they planted several "nisperos" (this is what the sapodilla is called in Cuba, where I grew up)

I love the fruit and can't find it available for sale locally very often as most of the growers seem to ship them off-island.

I love to make nispero ice cream!

Positive Kuukama On Jul 30, 2004, Kuukama from Kailua, HI wrote:

My sapodilla tree is now about 8 years old and is starting to produce fruit. The outer shell is very hard and doesn't seem to soften. We also have a very aggresive bird called a red-vented bulba that seems to start eating the fruit before it is fully ripe.

I live on the windward side of Oahu, Hawaii near the beach and concur that the tree does well in beach sand soil and salty wind conditions. I've had to brace the tree however, since the root structure doesn't support the tree in windy conditions.

Positive i8lufc On Mar 6, 2004, i8lufc wrote:

I used to pick these fruits from trees growing in Cyprus when I was a kid, walking to school, they are delicious. I have only ever seen them on sale in the UK once and that was last year. I put one of the stones in a tub and it has now grown to approx 8" high.

Neutral Thaumaturgist On Nov 11, 2003, Thaumaturgist from Rockledge, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

The ancient Maya used to call this Zapotle. Native to the tropical forests of the Yucatán Peninsula, Belize (British Honduras) and northern Guatemala, now it has the following most common names, at the least, in various parts of the world:

sapodilla plum

Mayan writings talks about "millions" of Zapotle trees at the peak of the Mayan civilization. Even today, Sapodilla is the most abundant tree in the jungles of Gran Petén, at the heart of the Mayan world.

Although Manilkara zapota is the accepted scientific name for this fruit from the Sapotaceae family, Achras zapota is also used in some countries.

Chicle is the milky juice or latex of the Sapodilla tree that was used as the base for all Chewing Gums. It is collected from July through February, during the rainy season, when the latex flows better. With a sharp-edged machete, Chicle collectors make zigzag cuts from the base of the Sapodilla tree trunk up to its first branches. The latex drips down these grooves and is collected in a bag. At present, approximately 5,000 Chicle collectors perfom their arduous, artisanal work each season in the jungles of the Gran Petén.

Although natural Chicle is still used, most of today's chewing Gums are made from a synthetic vinyl gum base.

Positive Monocromatico On Oct 30, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

The fruits are good, and there are many cultivated and natural Sapodilla trees in Rio de Janeiro, but I don´t see them for sale very often.

I like to eat this fruit like Kiwi, leaving the skin off. It´s very sweet and has a different texture. If the fruit is not completely ripe, you will notice the sticky sap as you chew on it, though it´s not toxic. The seeds are black, big, shiny and hard.

Positive teddyJ On Jun 8, 2003, teddyJ from Rockhampton
Australia wrote:

Will take mild frost down to -2C for short periods. Brown furry skinned sweet fruit (reminiscent of caramel) ripen in late winter/early spring. Some fruit from seedling trees are rainy. Sap is original 'Chicle' chewing gum.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Port Hueneme, California
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Homestead, Florida (2 reports)
Key Largo, Florida
Key West, Florida (3 reports)
Loxahatchee, Florida
Marathon, Florida
Mulberry, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Summerland Key, Florida
Tavernier, Florida
Honomu, Hawaii
Kailua, Hawaii
Mililani, Hawaii
Wahiawa, Hawaii
Newark, New Jersey
Eagle Pass, Texas
Houston, Texas
Humble, Texas
Christiansted, Virgin Islands

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