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Manilkara zapota


Manilkara zapota

Family Name: Sapotaceae
Synonyms: Sapota zapotilla, Achras zapota
Common Name: Chiku, Sapodilla, Sauh Menila, Naseberry, Nispero, Chicle, Chicle Gum, Ciku, 人心果


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Big (>30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Tiered
Maximum Height 18 m


Native Distribution Tropical Americas
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Tree up to 18-30 m tall.
Foliage Glossy leaves are elliptic (7.5-11.3 cm long). They are spirally arranged near the branch tips.
Flowers Pale green flowers are bell-shaped and have 6 stamens (male, pollen-producing part).
Fruit Fruits are round, oval or ellipsoidal. They contain 3-12 hooked seeds.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Fruits
Food (Fruit or Vegetable): The fruit is eaten raw or used in desserts.
Others: Young fruits. high tannin content, boiled and decotion drunk to treat diarhhea; Seed paste applied to bite and sting wounds due to poisionous animals; Young leaf shoots washed to remove sap and eaten raw or with rice in Indonesia. Gummy latex used in tropics to fill dental cavities or make figurines; Wood strong and durable, used to make beams and furniture; Gummy latex (chicle) tapped from trunk during rainy season (latex flows better) for making chewing gum and adhesives;

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses General, Container Planting, Coastal
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden
SGMP Treatment
Usage Hazard - Cons Irritant - Sap, Toxic Upon Ingestion
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks Sticky sap in immature fruits, broken surfaces of plant; Seed kernel contains saponin and sapotinin -- injestion of more than 6 seeds will cause vomitting and abdominal pain.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Drought Tolerant, Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Alkaline high pH Soils
Diseases Fruits may need to be covered with net to protect them from fruit bats. Fruits could be attacked by fruit flies, banana-spotting bugs and Phytopthora palmivora fungus. Leaves may be affected by rusts, bacterial rot (Septoria sp.) and Rhyparida beetles.
Pest(s) Associated with, Sucking Insects, Chewing Insects
Propagation Method Seed, Grafting, Marcotting, Air-Layering
Propagule Establishment Remarks Seeds, viable for years if stored dry, germinate easily, but growth is slow. Seed-grown plants take 5-8 years to bear fruit, variable in quality and form. Air-layered plants take 2 year to fruit; Side-grafting of year-old seedlings onto rootstocks also commercially practised.
Maintenance Requirements Remarks Soil must be well-drained, or else tree bears fruits poorly. In India, trees may be watered with brackish or saline water to improve fruit yield.
Planting Distance 1


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Leathery, Thick
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Spiral
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Acute
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.0 (Tree - Dense Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Bark Colour(s) Dark brown
Mature Bark Texture Fissured, Plated
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Green
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flower Size - Remarks Small, inconspicuous, solitary, at leaf axils
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Opening Time Time-Independent
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Berry

Image Repository



Master ID 1721
Species ID 3014
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 24 April 2023.