Manilkara zapota

Common Name(s): sapodilla

Non-Native to Florida

Origin: Mexico and Central America1
Introduction to Florida: 1883 (agriculture)2

This species appears on the following legally prohibited plant lists

UF-IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas

CATEGORY I on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s (FLEPPC) 2017 List of Invasive Plant Species

Download a recognition card (PDF) from Invasive and Non-native Plants You Should Know

Download a page (PDF) from Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition1

For control information, see Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida (SP 242) by K. A. Langeland, J. A. Ferrell, B. Sellers, G. E. MacDonald, and R. K. Stocker

The huge sapodilla tree provides much shade, and is prized by some, but it is a non-native on the Florida EPPC List #1. It is occasionally found in hammocks and disturbed sites of Lee and Palm Beach Counties (Wunderlin, 2003). It is native to Central America.


Evergreen tree to about 20 m (66 ft) high with stout trunk. Branchlets brownish-hairy.


Alternate and often crowded at end of branchlets; young leaves are downy and brownish beneath.


White on long stalks from leaf axils, tubular; tube up to 5 mm (0.2 in) long, 6-lobed.


Brown with rough skin, up to 8 cm (3 in) across; brownish, mealy pulp; containing hard black seeds.

Ecological threat

FLEPPC Category I – Invasive exotics that are altering native plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structures or ecological functions, or hybridizing with natives.



Text from Invasive and Non-Native Plants You Should Know, Recognition Cards, by A. Richard and V. Ramey, 2007. UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, Publ. No. SP 431.

sapodillaView the herbarium specimen image from the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects.



1. From Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition, by K.A. Langeland, H.M. Cherry, et al. University of Florida-IFAS Pub SP 257. 2008.

2. From Strangers in Paradise, Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida, Chapter 2: Florida’s Invasion by Nonindigenous Plants: History, Screening, and Regulation, by D.R. Gordon and K.P. Thomas, pp. 21-37. Island Press, Washington, DC, 1997.

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