Manilkara zapota (L.) P. Royen

Etymology Genus From the a Malabar common name of a plant
Species From the Mexican common name (Cochit-zapoti) of the species
Family Sapotaceae
Synonyms Achradelpha mammosa (L.) O. F. Cook, Achras sapatilla J. Paul & W. Arnold, Achras zapota L.
Common Names Chiku, Sauh Menila, Sapodila, Naseberry
Status Exotic: Cultivated Only
Form Tree
Native Distribution Tropical America


Manilkara zapota is a edible fruit tree commonly found cultivated at private estates. It is usually about 5m, though capable of reaching up to great heights of 30m tall (Wee, 2003). The foilage consists of a dense spiral arrangement of leaves. The leaves are narrowly elliptic, and have a thicken mid-vein on the underside. White sap is produced upon breakage. It flowers regularly and its brown fruits are hard to miss.

Interesting Facts:

The white latex from the Chiku plant (called chicle) was used to make chewing gum before being replaced by synthetic rubber (Wee, 2003).

The Chiku, a common sight of private estates.

Leaves upper and underside (note the thick mid-vein).

White milky sap is exuded when the leaf is broken.

The spiral leaves are packed very densely.

Clustered leaf arrangement.

The tiny flowers (about 1.5cm long) are bell-shaped.

The Chiku fruits.


Wee YC. (2003) Tropical Trees and Shrubs: A Selection for Urban Planting. Sun Tree Publishing, USA. 392 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2013-06-22 / Modified: 2017-12-25