The mamey sapote (Pouteria sapota) is a species of tree native to
southern Mexico. Today, the tree is cultivated not only in Mexico,
but also in Central America, the Caribbean, and South Florida for
its fruit, which is commonly eaten in many Latin American countries.
Mamey sapote is a large and highly ornamental evergreen tree that
can reach a height of 15 to 45 meters (60 to 140 feet) at maturity.
Like most fruit trees, it is mainly propagated by grafting, which
ensures the new plant has the same characteristics as the parent,
especially its fruit. It is also considerably faster than growing
trees by seed. The fruit is about 10 to 25 cm (4 to 10 inches) long
and 8 to 12 cm (3 to 5 inches) wide and has orange flesh.
The fruit is eaten raw out of hand or made into milkshakes,
smoothies, ice cream and fruit bars. The fruit's flavor is variously
described as a combination of pumpkin, sweet potato, and maraschino
cherries with the texture of an avocado. Some consider the fruit to
be an aphrodisiac.
The brown skin has a texture somewhat between sandpaper and the
fuzz on a peach. The fruit's texture is creamy and soft. A mamey
sapote is ripe when the flesh is pink when a fleck of the skin is
removed. The flesh should give slightly, as with a ripe kiwifruit.
The mamey sapote is related to other sapotes such as sapodilla (Manilkara
zapota), abiu (P. caimito) and canistel (P. campechiana), but
unrelated to the black sapote (Diospyros digyna) and white sapote (Casimiroa
edulis). It should not be confused with the mammee apple (Mammea
It has different names depending on the country: mamey, zapote
colorado (Costa Rica), and zapote rojo (South America), among
Very popular fruit in Florida, the Caribbean islands, and Central
America. It is sometimes cultivated outside of the Americas. Fruit
is large, up to a foot long with orange flesh tasting somewhat like
a flavorful pumpkin. Many varieties are available and the fruit is
Description: Large tree from 60-140ft.
Hardiness: The tree is usually too tender to fruit in California.
are highly susceptible to frost.
Growing Environment: Grow in full sun. The mamey sapote
flourishes in tropical climates with rainfall above 75" a year.
Trees to not take well to periods of drought and will quickly loose
Propagation: The best varieties are usually propagated by
grafting. Grafted trees may bear in 1-4 years. Seedling trees take
8-10 years to fruit.
Uses: Almost always eaten fresh out of hand or used in desserts
and drinks. The mamey sapote was cultivated by the native peoples of
Central America for hundred of years.
Native Range: Native to low elevation areas between southern
Mexico and northern South America. It is now extensively cultivated
in Central America, the Caribbean, and south Florida.