sapodilla, the edible fruit of Manilkara zapota (formerly Achras zapota ), of the family Sapotaceae. The fleshy, brown fruit is the size of a small tomato, and has the flavor and texture of cinnamon, apple, and pear. The fruits are very astringent when young and must be fully ripened and soft to be eaten. The latex of the sapodilla plant is also the source of chicle, the chewing gum of the Aztecs. Another species, M. bidentata, produces a latex that is the source of balata, a non-elastic rubber that is used for manufacturing boots, machine belts, and items in tropical South America. Sapodilla is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Ebenales, family Sapotaceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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