Mamey Sapote - Pouteria sapota (Jacq.) H.E. Moore & Stearn
Pouteria sapota fruit
Fig. 1 
Pouteria sapota fruit

Mamey sapote is one of many tropical fruits found in the ARS germplasm repository in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
 Fig. 2 magnifying glass
Mamey sapote is one of many tropical fruits found in the ARS germplasm repository in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

Flower and fruit habit
Fig. 3
Flower and fruit habit

Pouteria sapota
 Fig. 4 magnifying glass

Flower buds and fruit
 Fig. 5 magnifying glass

Yummy mamey Sapote Pouteria Sapota
 Fig. 9 magnifying glass
Yummy mamey Sapote Pouteria Sapota

Mamey Sapote 'Pantin'
 Fig. 10 magnifying glass
Mamey Sapote 'Pantin'

Seed sprouting
 Fig. 11 magnifying glass
Seed germinating

Cluster of Sapote leaves. The leaves are glossy and dark green, ribbed by veins. Photograph taken a at United States Botanic Garden.
Fig. 12
Cluster of Sapote leaves. The leaves are glossy and dark green, ribbed by veins. 

New growth
 Fig. 13 magnifying glass
New growth

Leaves growth habit
 Fig. 14 magnifying glass

Mamey sapote tree in fruit
 Fig. 15 magnifying glass
Young tree with fruit

Fruiting plant
 Fig. 16 magnifying glass

Mature tree
 Fig. 17 magnifying glass
Mature tree

Lower trunk
 Fig. 18 magnifying glass
Lower trunk

Noel's House 023. Mamey Sapote (Pouteria sapota) 'Pantin' this tree was toppled by Hurricane Wilma it has since made a full recovery
 Fig. 19 magnifying glass
Mamey Sapote (Pouteria sapota) 'Pantin' this tree was toppled by Hurricane Wilma it has since made a full recovery

Pouteria sapota from Venezuela
 Fig. 20 magnifying glass
Pouteria sapota from Venezuela

A bunch of mamey fruit in a market in Tepoztlan, Mexico
 Fig. 21 magnifying glass
A bunch of mamey fruit in a market in Tepoztlan, Mexico

Pouteria sapota
 Fig. 22 magnifying glass


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Scientific name
Pouteria sapota (Jacq.) H.E. Moore & Stearn
Common names
Sapota, zapote, zapote colorado, zapote mamey, lava-zapote, zapotillo, mamey sapote, mamee sapote, mamee zapote, mamey colorado, mamey rojo, mammee or mammee apple or red sapote. In El Salvador, it is known as zapote grande, in Colombia as zapote de carne; in Cuba, it is mamey, which tends to confuse it with Mammea americana L., a quite different fruit widely known by that name. The usual name in Panama is mamey de la tierra; in Haiti, sapotier jaune d'oeuf, or grand sapotillier; in Guadeloupe, sapote à creme; in Martinique, grosse sapote; in Jamaica, it is marmalade fruit or marmalade plum; in Nicaragua, it may be called guaicume; in Mexico, chachaas or chachalhaas or tezonzapote; in Malaya and the Philippines, chico-mamei, or chico-mamey. 3
Synonyms
P. mammosa (L.) Cronquist, Lucuma mammosa Gaertn., Achradelpha mammosa Cook, Vitellaria mammosa Radlk., Calocarpum mammosum Pierre, C. sapota Merrill, Sideroxylon sapota Jacq.) 3
Relatives
Green sapote Pouteria viridis Cronq., sapodilla Manilkara zapota, satin leaf Chrysophyllum oliviforme, caimito C. cainito, abiu P. caimito
Family
Sapotaceae
Origin
Mexico and Central America lowlands
USDA hardiness zones
10b-11a
Uses
Fruit; landscape specimen
Height
40ft (12.2 m) in Florida; may exceed 60 feet (18.3 m) in more tropical regions 5
Spread
Large spreading canopy
Crown
Irregular; spreading and open
Plant habit
Large, erect to spreading trees; thick central trunk; few large limbs 5
Growth rate
Moderate
Trunk/bark/branches
Short, stout trunk; thick branches; severed twighs exude sticky latex
Pruning requirement
After harvest, trees shoud be pruned keeping the tree 6-8 ft (2.4-8m) tall
Leaves
Evergreen to semi-deciduous; glossy; dark green; underside is lighter green of brownish; ribbed by veins; come out in whirls at horizontal intervals; up to 12in. (30.5 cm) long, 4in. (10.2 cm) wide 5
Flowers
The small, perfect, whitish, almost sessile flowers are produced abundantly along small branches 1/2-2 in. (1.3-5.1 cm), and tend to cluster towards the ends of the stems 5
Fruit
Large berry, ovoid to ellipsoid; 3-8 in.(7.6-20.3 cm); pulp salmon pink to red, soft, smooth; skin thick, woody, russet brown scruffy surface; will take a year to mature 4
Season
May through October depending on cultivar
USDA Nutrient Content  pdf
Light requirement
Full sun
Soil tolerances
Grows well in a wide variety of well-drained soils, from heavy clays to the limestone and sandy soils of Florida 5
PH preference
Prefer a pH of about 6.0-7.0 but they have been known to tolerate quite high alkaline soils up to 8.4 1
Drought tolerance
Intolerant of prolonged drought; even a short dry spell may induce shedding of leaves
Aerosol salt tolerance
Can take a little salt wind, but should not be planted on open exposed areas close to the
ocean 3
Cold tolerance
Young specimens are highly cold-sensitive; mature trees can withstand 28°F (-2.2°C)
Plant spacing
20-30 ft (6.1-9.1 m)
Invasive potential *
Not a problem species (un-documented)
Pest resistance
Few insects attack the tree, sugarcane rootstalk borer is a potential threat; anthracnose is not usually an important problem in Florida 5
Known hazard
The milky sap of the tree is highly irritant to the eyes and caustic and vesicant on the skin; the leaves are reportedly poisonous 5

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Reading Material

Mamey Sapote Growing in the Florida Home Landscape from the University of Florida pdf 9 pages
Sapote from Julia Morton's Book Fruits of Warm Climates
Sapote from Neglected Crops: 1492 from a Different Perspective
The Mamey Sapote in Florida from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia
Cultivation of the Mamey Sapote and Green Sapote from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia
Mamey Sapote from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia
The Mamey Sapote in South Florida from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden



The word "sapote" is believed to have been derived from the Aztec "tzapotl", a general term applied to all soft, sweet fruits. 3

Origin

Mamey sapote (Pouteria sapota) is native to the seasonally dry forests of Mexico and Central America. It was widely distributed in Central America before Columbus and introduced to the Caribbean, South America, and Asia. Mamey sapote has been grown in South Florida since the mid-1800 and of all tropical fruits; mamey is the one that represents the nostalgia for Cubans. Exiled Cubans longed for a steady supply of mamey and are willing to buy it at any price. 4

Distribution
Mamey sapotes have been grown or cultivated in Central America, Mexico, northern South America, and the West Indies for centuries. The first recorded introduction into southern Florida was during the mid-1880s. 5

Flowers
The small white flowers appear in the fall by the thousands, encircling the mature wood of the branches. The first two or three annual blooms to appear usually result in no fruit set. 9
The flowers just stick up above the bark and are fairly perfect in that they have male and female parts. They have five sepals, five petals, five stamenoids and a single pistil with five carpels. 1

Leaves
The leaves are large, up to 12 inches (30.5 cm) long and 4 inches (10.2 cm) wide, simple, and obovate to oblanceolate in shape. The underside is lighter green or brownish and pubescent (hairy) when young but becomes glabrous (smooth) when mature. The leaves are clustered at the ends of the small branches. Depending on the cultivar (variety) and recent crop load, trees will drop most of the leaves in late winter or spring, but develop new leaves rapidly. 5
Depending on the cultivar (variety) and recent crop load, trees will drop most of the leaves in late winter or spring, but develop new leaves rapidly. 5

Fruit
The fruit skin is rough and dark-brown, the flesh is orange to deepred, sweet, creamy, and has a cherry-almond-like flavor. The fruit is high in vitamin A and it is considered a good source of potassium. 8
Fruit are borne directly on the thick twigs and branches of the canopy (Fig. 3). The fruit is a large, shaped like a football, varying in length from 6-9 inches depending of the cultivar. The skin is thick and woody with a russet brown scruffy surface. The pulp of a mature fruit is salmon pink to red, soft and smooth in texture. The flavor is a sweet, almond like, unique flavor. The fruit will weigh from 1 to 6 pounds. 4 Normally, the fruit contains a single, large, elliptical seed but it may have up to four. The seed has a shiny, hard, dark brown surface with a light brown scar (hilum) on the ventral side. Seeds may crack and sprout in over-mature fruits. 5
The mamey sapote is usually eaten fresh by hand or to make milkshakes or ice cream. It is also excellent for use in jellies, pastes and conserves. 4
An individual fruit takes more than a year to mature on the tree. 4

Fruit emergingGrowth habitPouteria sapota, Sapotaceae
 Fig. 6 magnifying glass Fig. 7 magnifying glass Fig. 8 magnifying glass

Varieties from the USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program

Characteristics of Mamey Sapote Cultivars for Florida from the University of Florida

Season
In Florida, the bloom season may be in summer, fall, and winter depending on the cultivar (variety). Because of this, each cultivar has its own main maturity season (Table 1). For example, 'Pantin' matures most of its crop in July and August with some fruit maturing before or after these months. 'Magana', on the other hand, matures its fruit in March and April with some fruit maturing before or after these months. Other cultivars will mature fruit in the winter, thus allowing for year-round harvest. Trees may have flowers, immature fruit and mature fruit all at the same time. It takes from 13 to 24 months from flowering to fruit maturity. 5

Harvesting
The largest fruits will ripen first, obviously, and the common method of determining whether they are ripe is to scratch the shoulder of the fruit. If the flesh underneath is green, do not pick, but if the flesh is turning pink or salmon-coloured, you can pick it and it will remain hard for a few days then ripen quite successfully. You can tell when the fruit is ripe when it becomes soft and a beautiful aroma, similar to almonds and marzipans, comes from it. The crop that flowered at the same time will also ripen almost at the same time, so it is not necessary to scratch each individual fruit. Just harvest the whole particular crop when you determine the fruit is ripe enough. 1
Since different cultivars of mamey sapote have different peak bearing dates, and all stages may be found on the same tree, harvest may occur largely year-round, except in March. 10
Fruits are not harvested from trees in active vegetative growth (a state called "primavera"), because they will never ripen completely. 3

Propagation
Sapote seeds lose viability quickly and must be planted soon after removal from the fruit. They normally germinate in 2 to 4 weeks. Removal of the hard outer coat will speed germination. The seeds must be planted with the more pointed end upward and protruding 1/2 in (1.25 cm) above the soil in order to assure good form in the seedling. Rodents are attracted to the seeds and cause considerable losses in Cuba. 3
A seedling will bear anytime from 4 to 12 years and a grafted plant generally from 2 years on. It also depends on the variety. 'Magana' will bear at less than 2 years from the grafted time and the Pantin often takes 4 to 5 years. 1
Grafted trees grow more slowly than seedlings and do not grow as tall, which is a distinct advantage in harvesting. 3
Mamey Sapote Propagation from the University of Florida

Cultural Calendar for Production of Mature Trees in the Home Landscape from the University of Florida

Planting
The mamey sapote grows well in a wide variety of welldrained soils, from heavy clays to the limestone and sandy soils of Florida. Mamey sapote are intolerant of constantly wet or flooded soil conditions. The wet soil conditions decrease the oxygen content in the soil, causing roots to die which weakens the tree. In addition, weakened roots are more susceptible to attack by root rotting fungi (e.g., Pythium spp.). 5
Planting should be done just prior to the rainy season for good root development. 10

Cold Protection
Mamey sapote trees in the home landscape may be provided some limited protection from freezing by being planted in the warmest area of the landscape and/or being planted within 30 ft (9.1 m) of a building or adjacent overhanging tree. 5

Pruning
Each year after harvest, trees shoud be pruned, removing the upright branches and keeping the tree 6 to 8 feet tall. 4
Main trunk growth should be encouraged by removing all other leaders when the tree is in the nursery or newly planted. Mamey sapote has the tendency to form multiple branches close to one another on the trunk. It is advisable to prune these areas down to one branch. Shoot tip removal (one or two inches) between spring and summer will force more branching and make the trees more compact. It is also recommended that narrow V-shaped crotch angles be pruned out, as wide-angled branches support greater weight and are less likely to suffer wind damage. 10

Fertilizing
Addition of plant mulch to the soil surface will improve water-holding capacity, nutrient retention and availability to soil structure. Fertilization is best done with three applications per year - March, July and September - with an 8-3-9 application or other fruit tree formulation. 4
Fertilizer schedule see Mamey Sapote Growing in the Florida Home Landscape pdf 9 pages

Irrigation
Adequate soil moisture is essential, especially during the first year of development. The young mamey sapote tree should be watered immediately after planting and every other day for the first 4 to 6 weeks unless there is sufficient rainfall. Mature trees should be watered one to two times per week with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water during periods of insufficient rainfall.
Watering during flowering, fruit set, and early fruit development is most likely important for setting fruit. 5

Pests
Sapote leaves and roots are attacked by the West Indian sugar cane root borer, Diaprepes abbreviatus, in Puerto Rico. The red spider mite, Tetranychus bimaculatus, may infest
the leaves. 3

Diseases
The fungus, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, causes anthracnose on the leaves and fruit stalks in rainy seasons and causes fruits to fall prematurely. Leafspot resulting from attack by the fungus Phyllosticta sapotae occurs in Cuba and the Bahamas but seldom in Puerto Rico. In addition, black leaf spot (Phyllachora sp.) and root rot (Pythium sp.) may occur in Florida. 3

Florida Crop/Pest Management Profile: Mamey Sapote and Sapodilla from the University of Florida pdf 6 pages

Food Uses
The mamey sapote is usually eaten in preparations where the fresh or frozen pulp is mixed with other ingredients to make milkshakes or ice cream. It also may be eaten fresh directly from the fruit by cutting it lengthwise and removing the seed. It is also excellent for use in jellies, pastes, and conserves. The seed can be milled to prepare a bitter chocolate. 5
Because of its interesting taste and texture, the mamey sapote fruit is rapidly gaining in popularity for cooking purposes. Additionally, mamey sapote is high in vitamins A and C, as well as in potassium. It is also an excellent source of dietary fiber. The famous delicious milkshakes from the Caribbean are prepared from mamey sapote. 4

Mamey Sapote Recipes from the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Virtual Herbarium
Mamey Sapote Recipes from Taste of the Tropics Cookbook

Medicinal Uses **
The seed kernel oil is used as a skin ointment and as a hair dressing that is believed to stop falling hair. In 1970, clinical tests at the University of California at Los Angeles failed to reveal any hair-growth promoting activity but confirmed that the oil of sapote seed is effective in stopping hair-fall caused by seborrhoeic dermatitis.
The oil is said to be diuretic andis also employed as a sedative in eye and ear ailments. 6

Other Uses
Early in the 19th Century, the seeds were used in Costa Rica to iron starched fine linen. The seed kernel yields 45 to 60% of a white, semi-solid, vaseline-like oil which is edible when freshly extracted and refined. It is sometimes used in soap and considered to have a greater potential in the soap industry, in cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. It was used in olden times to fix the colors on painted gourds and other articles of handicraft. The seeds have served as a source of Noyeau scent in perfumery. The nectar of the flowers is gathered by honeybees. 3

Toxicity
De la Maza, in 1893, reported that the seed has stupefying properties, and this may be due to its HCN content. One is cautioned not to rub the eyes after handling the green fruit because of the sap exuding from the cut or broken stalk. The milky sap of the tree is highly irritant to the eyes and caustic and vesicant on the skin. The leaves are reportedly poisonous. 3


Further Reading
Mamey Sapote from Florida from the University of Florida pdf
The Sapote from W. Popenoe's book Manual of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits
Pouteria sapota from the World Agroforesty Center
Mamey Sapote in Puerto Rico from the Miami Rare Fruit Council


List of Growers and Vendors


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Bibliography

1 Carle, Alan. "Cultivation of the Mamey Sapote and Green Sapote." rfcarchives.org.au. Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. Article extracted from "Proceedings of First Exotic Fruits Seminar" 14-15 Feb.1987, Mackay Qld. Jan. 1989. Web. 26 May 2015.
2 Joyner, Gene. "Mamey Sapote. " rfcarchives.org.au. Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. Tropical Fruit News, Volume 30 Number 9, September 1996. Mar. 1997. Web. 26 May 2015.
3 Morton, J. "Sapote." hort.purdue.edu. Fruits of warm climates, p. 398-402. 1987. Web. 10 June 2015.
4 Ledesma, Noris. "The Mamey Sapote in South Florida." fairchildgarden.org. Miami Herald. 17 Apr. 2012. Web. 10 June 2015.
5 Balerdi, Carlos F., Crane, Jonathan H. and Maguire, Ian. "Mamey sapote Growing in the Florida Home Landscape."  edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is FC-30, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. First published Apr. 1979. Major revision May 1996 and Sept. 2005. Revised Oct. 2008. Reviewed July 2013. Web. 12 June 2015.
6 "Pouteria sapota." worldagroforestry.org. Web. 12 June 2015.
7 Boning, Charles R. Florida's Best Fruiting Plants- Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Pineapple Press, Inc. sarasota, Florida. Print.
8 Rafie, A.R., Crane, Jonathan, Balerdi, Carlos and Sargent, Steven.Mamey Sapote from Florida." edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is HS1103, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date June 2007. Reviewed
October 2013.  Web. 10 May 2016.  
9 Whitman, Wm. F. "The Mamey Sapote in Florida." rfcarchives.org.au. Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia. Reprint from California Rare Fruit Growers Yearbook. Jan. 1981. Web. 26 May 2015.
10 Mossler, Mark A. and Crane, Jonathan Crane. Florida Crop/Pest Management Profile: Mamey Sapote and Sapodilla. edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is CIR 1414 one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date Sept. 2002. Original authors included O. Norman Nesheim, professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department. Revised Nov. 2009. Reviewed July 2013. Web. 16 May 2016.

Photographs

Fig. 1,3,5,17 Mamey, Mamey Sapote, Pouteria sapota. N.d. toptropicals.com. Web. 12 June 2015.
Fig. 2 Greb, Peggy. Mamey sapote is one of many tropical fruits found in the ARS germplasm repository in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. 2008. commons.wikimedia.org. ARS germplasm repository in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Web. 10 June 2015.
Fig. 4,7,13 Cerlin Ng. Pouteria sapota. 2015. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Web. 16 May 2016.
Fig. 6 Ahmad Fuad Morad. Manilkara zapota (L.) P. Royen. 2011. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).  Jeniang, Kedah, Malaysia. Web. 16 May 2016.
Fig. 8,14 Carr, Gerald,D. Pouteria sapota, Sapotaceae. N.d. botany.hawaii.edu. University of Hawaii, Botany Department, Manoa Campus Plants. Web. 16 May 2016.
Fig. 9 Vrysxy. Yummy mamey Sapote Pouteria Sapota. 2012. flickr.com. Under (CC BY 2.0). Web. 16 May 2016.
Fig. 10 I likE plants! Mamey Sapote 'Pantin' 006. 2009.  N.d. flickr.com. Under (CC BY 2.0). Web. 16 May 2016.
Fig. 11 Eric Weisser. 2013. flickr.com. Under (CC BY 2.0). Web. 16 May 2016.
Fig. 12 Pouteria sapota. (Sapote, marmalade tree) Leaf cluster. 2005. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0) and  GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2. United States Botanic Garden. Web. 16 May 2016.
Fig. 15 The Mamey Sapote in South Florida. N.d. fairchildgarden.org. Web. 7 June 2015.
Fig. 16 I likE plants! Mamey Sapote 'Pantin' tree. 2009. N.d. flickr.com. Under (CC BY 2.0). Web. 16 May 2016.
Fig. 18 Coronado, Indiana. Lower trunktropical.theferns.info. Under (CC BY-SA 3.0). Web. 16 May 2016.
Fig. 19 Bronson, Eric. Noel's House 023. Mamey Sapote (Pouteria sapota) 'Pantin' this tree was toppled by Hurricane Wilma it has since made a full recovery. 2009.  flickr.com. Under (CC BY 2.0). Web. 16 May 2016.
Fig. 20 Rodriguez, Wilfredo. Pouteria sapota from Venezuela. 2012. commons.wikimedia.org. Under  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Web. 16 May 2016.
Fig. 21 Chaerani, Meutia. A bunch of mamey fruit in a market in Tepoztlan, Mexico. 2006. commons.wikimedia.org. Under (CC-BY 2.5) and  GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2. Web. 12 June 2015.
Fig. 22 Sylvia. Pouteria sapota. 2009. flickr.com. flickr.com. Under (CC BY-ND 2.0)

UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
** Information provided is not intended to be used as a guide for treatment of medical conditions.

Published 26 May 2015 LR. Updated 12 June 2015, 16 May 2016 LR
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