Achras sapota, Sapodilla seeds
Achras sapota belongs to the family of the Sapotaceae, the sapodilla family. A. sapota is native to Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. A. sapota is known under various synonyms. One of them is Manilkara zapota. It is mainly known as sapote, coming from the word “tzapotl” like the natives called the plant. The sapote grows as a tree and can reach a height of 30 m in nature. The trunk gets 1,5 m in diameter. In culture the trees are kept smaller for practical reasons. They get just 9 m high. The leaves of A. sapota are longish, simple and get 10 cm long. They are leathery and glossy. The flowers of the sapote are inconsiderable white and bell- shaped. In the tropics the tree flowers the whole year through and has a lot of fruits, twice a year. The fruits are very big, brownish berries. They get 15 cm in diameter and look a little bit like a potato. The soft, orange pulp contains a maximum of just 5 seeds. The pulp is edible. It is rich in nutrients containing proteins beside the carbohydrates. In many tropical regions the sapota is an important food plant. A. sapota tastes good. The pulp is sweet, the taste reminds of caramel. The sapote is a popular dessert. Until A. sapota bears fruits it can take 5 years. However it is worth waiting. A. sapota produces in addition latex. The latex can be gained when cutting the bark. It is used to make chewing gums.
The seeds of A. sapota do not need any pretreatment. They can be planted directly into the substrate. At a tropical temperature of about 28°C and constantly moist substrate, germination occurs after 2 to 6 weeks. A. sapota needs high air humidity and a lot of warmth. It is not winter hardy and has to be kept inside during the cold season.
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