Monographs Details: Pouteria sapota (Jacq.) H.E.Moore & Stearn
Authority: Pennington, Terence D. 1990. Sapotaceae. Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 52: 1-750. (Published by NYBG Press)
Synonyms:Sideroxylum sapota Jacq., Achras zapota L., Achras mammosa L., Sapota mammosa Mill., Lucuma mammosa C.F.Gaertn., Lucuma bonplandii Kunth, Bassia jussiaei Tussac, Calospermum mammosum Pierre, Calospermum mammosum var. bonplandii Pierre, Calospermum mammosum var. candollei Pierre, Calospermum mammosum var. ovoidea Pierre, Vitellaria mammosa (L.) Radlk., Calocarpum mammosum (L.) Pierre, Calocarpum mammosum var. bonplandii Pierre & Urb., Calocarpum mammosum var. candollei Pierre & Urb., Calocarpum mammosum var. ovoideum (C.F.Gaertn.) Pierre, Calocarpum sapota Merr., Pouteria mammosa (L.) Cronquist, Achradelpha mammosa O.F.Cook, Calocarpum huastecanum Gilly
Description:Species Description - Tree; young shoots densely long-pubescent or villose with spreading golden-brown hairs, becoming glabrous, greyish-brown, rough, with scars of old inflorescences and leaf bases, usually without lenticels. Leaves densely clustered, spirally arranged, (10-) 18-35 × (3.5-)5-11(-13) cm, oblanceolate, apex usually obtusely cuspidate, or obtuse or acute, base long-tapering, acute or narrowly cuneate, chartaceous, glabrous above, sparsely pubescent on midrib below, or glabrous; venation eucamptodromous, midrib slightly sunken on the upper surface, or slightly raised in the upper half, secondary veins (17-)20-25 pairs, parallel, straight or slightly arcuate; intersecondaries usually absent; tertiaries oblique, often obscure; quaternaries finely areolate. Petiole 1.3-4.7 cm long, channelled, densely long-pubescent, becoming glabrous. Fascicles 3-6-flowered, mostly clustered below the leaves and often borne on woody protuberances on old wood. Pedicel 1-3 mm long, pubescent. Flowers unisexual (plant dioecious) or ? bisexual. Sepals (8-) 10-11, in a closely overlapping spiral, increasing in size from outside inwards, outer 1.5-2 mm long, inner 5-6 mm long, outer ones broader than long, apex rounded to emarginate or deeply notched, sericeous outside, with glabrous margin, glabrous inside. Corolla broadly tubular, sometimes slightly expanded at the apex, 0.7-1 cm long, tube 4-4.5 mm long, lobes five, 2.5-4 mm long, broadly oblong or spathulate, apex rounded or retuse, usually sericeous outside, at least on the centre of the lobes, rarely glabrous, glabrous inside, sometimes slightly ciliate. Stamens five, fixed near the top of the corolla tube; filaments 2-3 mm long, glabrous; anthers 1.5-2.5 mm long, lanceolate, glabrous; stamens converted into flattened staminode-like structures without anthers in female. Staminodes five, 2.5-3 mm long, subulate to narrowly lanceolate, sometimes terminated by minute non-functional anthers, glabrous. Disk absent. Ovary ovoid, tapering gradually into the style, five-locular, pubescent; style 4.5-7.5 mm long after anthesis, usually exserted in bud and open flower, pubescent below; style-head simple. Fruit 9-12 cm long, broadly ovoid or ellipsoid, apex acute to obtuse, base acute to truncate, rough-skinned and scaly all over, glabrous. Seed one(-two), 6-7 cm long, usually ellipsoid, often somewhat plano-convex, obtuse to rounded at apex, usually acute or obtuse at base, testa smooth, shining, 1-2 mm thick; scar adaxial, full-length, usually tapering from apex to base, 1-3 cm broad; embryo with planoconvex, free cotyledons, radicle extending to the surface; endosperm absent. Tree to 30(--40) m high and 1 m diam., larger specimens buttressed to 2 m high; trunk cylindrical with shallowly fissured greyish bark, fissures separated by broad ridges which scale in long rectangular pieces; slash pink- ish or reddish-brown, often smelling of almonds, with scarce to copious sticky white latex. The branches are often whorled, and spread horizontally, with sympodial branching and terminal clusters of large leaves. The greenish-cream flowers are sweetly scented, and the ripe fruit roughskinned and brown, with pinkish, red or orange flesh smelling of almonds. Flowering Jul-Oct, fruiting Dec-Mar in Mexico, uncertain elsewhere, as fruit in all stages of development may be found throughout the year.

Discussion:For further Mexican local names, see Martinez (1979: 1031).

The tree is protected and widely cultivated for its fruit, and is now to be found throughout Central America to Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and northern S America, as well as in the Caribbean islands. It is certainly one of the more important fruits of the lowlands tropical regions, and a frequent sight on roadsides and in the local markets. For the best flavour, it needs to be eaten when perfectly ripe. It is also very good for flavouring ice-creams and preserves. Other uses of this species are as a construction timber, and the latex has formerly been used in Mexico (Chiapas) and adulterate chicle. See Morera (1982) for further literature and information on the cultivation and propagation of this species.

Distribution and Ecology: The original distribution of this species is uncertain, and confused by the many herbarium collections which represent cultivated or naturalized plants. However, it is probably native only from S Mexico through the Yucatan peninsula to Guatemala, Belize, N Honduras and possibly extending to the Atlantic coastal forests of Nicaragua. It does not appear to be native in Costa Rica or Panama, where it is replaced by P. viridis and P. fossicola. It is a component of evergreen lowland rainforest (selva alta perennifolia) associated with Terminalia amazonica and Guatteria anomala in S Mexico (Veracruz, Tabasco, Chiapas). In Peten, Guatemala and Belize it occurs in seasonal semi-evergreen forest over limestone dominated by Manilkara zapota, Calophyllum brasiliense, Cedrela odorata, As-pidosperma megalocarpon, and Swietenia macrophylla. Altitudinal range from near sea level to ca. 500 metres.

Distribution:Mexico North America| Chiapas Mexico North America| Oaxaca Mexico North America| Puebla Mexico North America| San Luis Potosí Mexico North America| Veracruz Mexico North America| Guatemala Central America| Alta Verapaz Guatemala Central America| Chimaltenango Guatemala Central America| Escuintla Guatemala Central America| Huehuetenango Guatemala Central America| Petén Guatemala Central America| Suchitepéquez Guatemala Central America| Cayo Belize Central America| Belize Central America| Corozal Belize Central America| Orange Walk Belize Central America| Honduras Central America| Atlántida Honduras Central America| Comayagua Honduras Central America| Cortés Honduras Central America| Olancho Honduras Central America| El Salvador Central America| Nicaragua Central America| Carazo Nicaragua Central America| Chontales Nicaragua Central America| Granada Nicaragua Central America| Managua Nicaragua Central America| Matagalpa Nicaragua Central America| Nueva Segovia Nicaragua Central America| Zelaya Nicaragua Central America|

Common Names:Grand sapotillier, mamey, mamey apple, mamey Colorado, mamey de tierra, mamey mata serrana, mammee sapota, sapote, sapote Colorado, sapote de montana, Zapote, zapote mamey