Chico Zapote (Manilkara zapota)

Chico Zapote (Manilkara zapota)

View More Images Below

Common Name(s): Chico Zapote, Zapote, Sapodilla

Scientific Name: Manilkara zapota

Distribution: Southern Mexico and Central America

Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 65 lbs/ft3 (1,040 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .82, 1.04

Janka Hardness: 2,970 lbf (13,210 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 26,710 lbf/in2 (184.2 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,960,000 lbf/in2 (20.41 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 12,440 lbf/in2 (85.8 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 6.2%, Tangential: 9.2%, Volumetric: 16.0%, T/R Ratio: 1.5

Color/Appearance: Color ranges from a pink or red to a darker reddish brown. Pale yellowish sapwood gradually transitions to heartwood. Gum pockets are commonly found in this wood.

Grain/Texture: Grain is straight (or occasionally wavy) with a medium to fine uniform texture.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; medium-small pores in no specific arrangement; commonly in radial multiples of 2-6; gums and other heartwood deposits present; growth rings indistinct; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma banded (numerous fine bands).

Rot Resistance: Reported to have outstanding durability and insect resistance. (Intact Chico Zapote beams have been found amid the ruins of Mayan temples.)

Workability: Checking is common with this species, and even turning blanks are sometimes sold dry instead of green. Can be difficult to work on account of its density, but generally produces good results. Moderate blunting effect on cutters. Turns and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Chico Zapote has been reported to cause respiratory (nasal) irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Chico Zapote is a fruit tree, and isn’t usually harvested for lumber. Occasionally available, it should be moderately priced for an imported wood.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Cabinetry, furniture, archery bows, flooring, turned objects, and other small specialty wood items.

Comments: This gum of the tree’s bark is used for chewing gum and other candies, and the tree is primarily known for its fruit, not its lumber. The tree is usually called Sapodilla.

Related Species:

Related Articles:

None available.


Chico Zapote (Pouteria sapota)

Chico Zapote (sanded)

Chico Zapote (sealed)

Chico Zapote (sealed)

Chico Zapote (endgrain)

Chico Zapote (endgrain)

Chico Zapote (endgrain 10x)

Chico Zapote (endgrain 10x)


  1. John February 15, 2018 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Just started to turn a bowl out of Zapote and felt like I was back in the gas chamber during basic training! My nose began running like crazy and I coughed uncontrollably! Blew my nose a few times and went outside for some fresh air and all is fine now!
    Never had any problems with any other woods so went on-line to check it out and found that it could be an irritant; certainly is for me! I’ll be wearing a mask from now on for this piece!

  2. Vladimir Gorbachev October 20, 2015 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Janka Hardness: 2,870. not 2970 lbf

  3. Eric June 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    There’s always the freak chance that someone will have a severe allergic reaction, but that’s true of pretty much all woods. If it were me, I wouldn’t worry about using the wood.

  4. linda June 1, 2013 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Can you use Sapote as a butcher block…a food prep board?

    My carpenter cut and sanded a piece of Sapote and I cured it with coconut oil. I’m concerned about whether it is safe to put food on it.

    thanks for your help,


Leave A Comment