- Scientific name: Manikara zapota
- Origin: Central America
- Season: all year round
- Tree: height: 9-12 m
- Fruit: diameter: 5-10 cm; weight: 80-120 gm.; skin is brown
- Edible portion: The flesh is soft, pulpy, with a granular texture (like that of pear), yet is delicate and pleasing to the palate.
- Seed: it contains black, hard, glossy seeds.
- Culinary uses: eaten as fresh fruit, milkshakes, ice creams
Name in other countries:
- Bahamas – dilly
- Virgin Islands – mespil
- El Salvador, Puerto Rico and Venezuela – nisper
Chico or Sapodilla (common name) is a hardy tree that is native to tropical climate; sapodilla was carried by the Spanish first to the Philippines and eventually to other tropical countries. It derives both its Spanish name zapotilla and its Malay and Indian names, chiku, from the Aztec, chikl. Sapodilla is a very sweet and tasty fruit; it is high in fiber, iron, and calcium. To enjoy this delicious fruit, it must be eaten as soon as it ripens, just peel off the skin.
Health Benefits of Chico or Sapodilla:
- Sapodilla is use in folk medicine as a purgative and as remedy for diarrhea. It is prepared by boiling the young fruits and the decoction is taken to stop diarrhea.
- A decoction of the yellowed leaves is drunk as a remedy for coughs, colds and diarrhea.
- A liquid extracted from crushed seeds is used as diuretic and is found to be effective in removing kidney and bladder stones.
- A paste made from seeds is useful for treating venomous stings and bites.
- An infusion of the young fruits and the flowers is drunk to relieve pulmonary complaints.
- A fluid extract from the crushed seeds is used as a sedative.
- A combined decoction of sapodilla and chayote leaves is sweetened and taken daily to lower blood pressure.
- The bark decoction was used as vaginal wash and wash for wounds and skin ulcers.
- The bark of sapodilla tree is rich in white, gummy latex called chicle (contains 15% rubber and 38% resin). This milky sap is the main ingredient in manufacturing of chewing gum which gives the tree its main importance there.
- The sapodilla tree is valued for its hard, heavy and durable wood which is use for building homes and furniture, tool handles, carts, etc.
- It has a high tannin content which makes it useful as a source of dyes.