Manilkara zapota (Chickoo)



Description: A superb shade, street (where falling fruit will not be a problem), or fruit tree, Sopadilla reaches a height of 45 feet with a 40-foot spread. The smooth, dark, and glossy, six-inch-long evergreen leaves are clustered at the tips of twigs and the small, cream-colored solitary flowers appear in the leaf axils throughout the year. The four-inch-wide, scurfy brown fruits have a juicy, sweet, yellow-brown flesh and ripen to softness in spring and summer. The flower-to-fruit period is about ten months. The bark and branches, when injured, bleed a white latex which is the source of chicle, the original base for chewing gum. The trunk on older specimens is flaky and quite attractive, and flares at the base into numerous surface roots.