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Valentine.gr  

September 2021

Did you know that the Mayas and Aztecs would boil the "chicle" sap of Sapodilla tree, mold it into thick blocks and cut them into small pieces to chew, making the first chewing gum?

Sapodilla (Manilkara zapota).

Sapodilla - Manilkara zapota

Manilkara zapota, commonly known as sapodilla, sapota, chikoo, chico, naseberry, or nispero is a long-lived, evergreen tree native to southern Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. An example natural occurrence is in coastal Yucatán in the Petenes mangroves ecoregion, where it is a subdominant plant species. It was introduced to the Philippines during Spanish colonization. It is grown in large quantities in India, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Mexico.

Sapodilla is an ornamental evergreen tree with a dense, widely spreading crown that can grow 9 - 20 metres tall in cultivation, but can be 30 - 38 metres tall in the forest. The straight, cylindrical bole can range in diameter from up to 50cm in cultivation and up to 150cm in the forest. As a cultivated species, the sapodilla tree is medium-sized and slow-growing. Strong and wind-resistant, it maintains an extensive root system. The reddish wood is hard and durable. The bark is rich in a white, gummy latex called chicle.

The ornamental leaves are medium green and glossy. They are alternate, elliptic to ovate, 7–15 cm (3–6 in) long, with an entire margin. The white- cream flowers are inconspicuous and bell-like, with a six-lobed corolla. An unripe fruit has a firm outer skin and when picked, releases white chicle from its stem. A fully ripened fruit has saggy skin and does not release chicle when picked.

The fruit is a large berry, 4–8 cm (2–3 in) in diamete, with rough, rusty brown skin when ripe and is spheroid to ovoid in shape. Inside, its flesh ranges from a pale yellow to an earthy brown color with a grainy texture akin to that of a well-ripened pear. Each fruit contains one to six seeds. The seeds are hard, glossy, and black, resembling beans, with a hook at one end that can catch in the throat if swallowed. When the fruit is immature, its flesh contains both tannin and milky latex and is unpalatable.

The fruit has an exceptionally sweet, malty flavor. The unripe fruit is hard to the touch and contains high amounts of saponin, which has astringent properties similar to tannin, drying out the mouth.

The fruit can be eaten raw, or used in making sherbets, custard, ice cream, pies, jams, jellies etc. Slightly larger than a plum, when fully ripe, the flesh is soft, very sweet, slightly acid and totally delicious, with the flavour of pears, cinnamon and brown sugar combined. The fruit contains tannin, which is astringent. In order to be at its best, the fruit needs to be eaten when it is absolutely ripe and has lost that astringency, and so it is difficult to grow commercially.

The trees can survive only in warm, typically tropical environments, dying easily if the temperature drops below freezing. From germination, the sapodilla tree will usually take anywhere from five to eight years to bear fruit. The sapodilla trees yield fruit twice a year, though flowering may continue year round.  Propagation is usually by means of seed, but superior trees can be reproduced by grafting.

The sapodilla tree supplies the building blocks for a number of products utilized by humans.

The stems are a source of a milky latex called balata or chicle. This inelastic polymer can be coagulated when it becomes hard and brittle until chewed. It has long been used as the base for chewing gum.

Long ago, the Mayas and Aztecs would boil its ‘chicle’ sap, mold it into thick blocks and cut them into small pieces to chew. They were making the first chewing gum! In 1866, former Mexican president General Santa Anna brought a sample of chicle sap to a New York businessman named Thomas Adams. Adams decided to mix sugar with the chicle, creating a new kind of chewing gum. Producing chicle is a labor-intensive process.

Natural chicle chewing gum represents a very small portion of the chewing gum market, because of its labor intensive collection. Instead, most chewing gums are derived from other natural latex, or are made with petroleum-based synthetic gum. In Mexico, it is illegal to harvest the sapodilla tree because of its value as a chicle source.

The very young leaves and shoots can be eaten raw or cooked,. Some caution is advised since older leaves contain poisonous alkaloids.

In Medicinal, a leaf decoction is taken for fever, haemorrhage, wounds and ulcers. For neuralgia, leaf with tallow is applied as a compress on the temples. The flowers are used as one of the ingredients of a powder that is rubbed on the body of a woman after childbirth. The bark is astringent, febrifuge and tonic. Tannin from the bark is used to cure diarrhoea and fever.The fruit is eaten as a remedy for indigestion and diarrhoea. Seeds are antipyretic, and when ground with water they act as a diuretic. They are used to expel urinary and gall bladder stones. The plant is a source of sapotin, a glucoside used in medicine as a febrifuge.

Wild and cultivated trees in America are tapped for their milky latex, which coagulates into chicle, the principal constituent of chewing gum before the advent of synthetic alternatives. The gum is also used in transmission belts, dental surgery, and as a substitute for gutta-percha, a coagulum of the latex of Palaquium spp.

Chicle gum is obtained from oblique cuts or slashes made in the trunk of the tree during the rainy months. From these cuts there issues a milky latex which must be coagulated by heat, and formed into solid blocks for export.

Tannin from the bark is used to tan ship sails and fishing tackle.

The heartwood is dark reddish or reddish brown, the sapwood pinkish. It is without distinctive odour or taste, of rather low lustre, rather fine-textured and with fairly straight grain. The wood is noted for its strength and durability, it is also very hard, tough, dense, and resistant to insects. It is not easy to work and has a tendency to splinter, but can be finished smoothly. It is suitable for heavy construction, railway ties, furniture, joinery and tool handles. The sapodilla wood is a deep red color, strong, and durable—it was used for lintels and beams in Maya temples. Elaborately carved lintels of sapodilla wood, some 1,000 years old, are still seen  intact in some Mayan ruins.


Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manilkara_zapota
https://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Manilkara+zapota
https://www.britannica.com/plant/sapodilla
https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/species/sapodilla/

 

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Marmalade Box - Genipa americana
Ice Cream Bean - Inga edulis
Gular - Cluster fig - Ficus racemosa
Kei apple - Dovyalis caffra
Stork's Bill - Erodium cicutarium
Camu Camu - Myrciaria dubia
Pemphis - Pemphis acidula
Sisal - Agave sisalana
Jute Mallow - Corchorus olitorius
Sugar Apple - Annona squamosa
Sapodilla - Manilkara zapota
Black Sapote - Diospyros nigra
Star Apple - Chrysophyllum cainito
White Ginger Lily - Hedychium coronarium
Yuzu - Citrus junos
Wild Loquat - Sugar Plum - Uapaca kirkiana
Tonka - Cumaru - Dipteryx odorata
Chinese bayberry - Myrica rubra
Wood Apple - Limonia acidissima
Açaí - Euterpe oleracea
Tindola - Ivy gourd - Coccinia grandis
Blue honeysuckle - Haskap - Lonicera caerulea
Balata - Manilkara bidentata
Calabash nutmeg - Monodora myristica
Allanblackia
Kola nut - Cola nitida
Rainbow eucalyptus - Eucalyptus deglupta
Elephant apple - Dillenia indica
Australian Christmas tree - Nuytsia floribunda
Honeywort- Cerinthe major
Aconite - Monkshood - Wolfsbane - Aconitum napellus
Crown of Thorns - Euphorbia milii
Abyssinian banana - Ensete ventricosum
Goldenrain Tree - Koelreuteria paniculata
Naranjilla - Lulo - Solanum quitoense
Brazil nut tree - Bertholletia excelsa
Sea grape - Coccoloba uvifera
Bignay - Antidesma bunius
Cashew - Anacardium occidentale
Giant Himalayan Lily - Cardiocrinum giganteum
African Hemp - Sparrmannia africana
Lychee - Litchi chinensis
Prickly Heath - Gaultheria mucronata
Hoodia - Bushman's hat - Hoodia gordonii
Cannibals Tomato - Solanum viride
Ashoka - Saraca asoca
Ackee - Blighia sapida
African plum - Safou - Dacryodes edulis
Solandra - Solandra maxima
Stapelia - Stapelia gigantea
Foxglove - Digitalis purpurea
Swiss Cheese Plant - Monstera deliciosa
Chocolate flower - Berlandiera lyrata
Sandersonia - Sandersonia aurantiaca
Northern Japanese Magnolia - Magnolia kobus
Champak - Magnolia champaca
Hooker’s lips - Psychotria elata
Suicide Tree - Cerbera odollam
Konjac - Amorphophallus konjac
Madagascar ocotillo - Alluaudia procera
Water Banana - Typhonodorum lindleyanum
Salak - Salacca zalacca
Natal Plum - Carissa macrocarpa
Ashanti blood - Mussaenda erythrophylla
Duranta - Duranta erecta
Maqui - Aristotelia chilensis
Manuka - New Zealand Tea Tree - Leptospermum scoparium
Suriname cherry - Eugenia uniflora
Australian Finger Lime - Citrus australasica
Sacred Flower of the Incas - Cantua buxifolia
Job's tears - Coix Lacryma-jobi
Velvet Bean - Mucuna pruriens
Java Apple - Syzygium samarangense
Screwpine - Pandanus utilis
Marimo - Aegagropila linnaei
Achocha/Caigua - Inca cucumber - Cyclanthera pedata
Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis
Sugar cane - Saccharum officinarum
Sacha inchi - Plukenetia volubilis
Coffea - Coffee Tree - Coffea arabica
Liquorice - Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra
Mullein -Verbascum thapsus
Iceplant - Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
Chayote - Sechium edule
Roselle - Hibiscus sabdariffa
Black Goji - Lycium ruthenicum Murray
Rose Cactus - Pereskia grandifolia
Durian - Durio zibethinus
Jackfruit tree - Artocarpus heterophyllus
Cassabanana - Sicana odorifera
Chilean myrtle - Arrayan - Luma apiculata
Kurrajong - Brachychiton populneus
Rice-paper Plant -Tetrapanax papyrifer
Shell Ginger - Alpinia zerumbet
Harlequin Glorybower - Clerodendrum trichotomum
Coco de Mer - Lodoicea maldivica
Silver Tree - Leucadendron argenteum
Buffaloberry - Shepherdia argentea
Himalayan Honeysuckle - Leycesteria formosa
Raisin Tree - Hovenia dulcis
Borojo - Alibertia patinoi - Borojoa patinoi
Butterfly Pea - Clitoria ternatea
Honey Flower - Melianthus major
Ombu - Phytolacca dioica
Lion's Ear - Wild Dagga - Leonotis leonurus
Moringa - Miracle Tree - Moringa oleifera
Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum
Spear Lily - Gymea - Doryanthes
Camphor tree - Cinnamomum camphora
Waterwheel - Aldrovanda vesiculosa
Flowering rush - Butomus umbellatus
Four o'clock - Marvel of Peru - Mirabilis jalapa
Dead Man’s Fingers - Decaisnea
Bitter Melon - Momordica charantia
Shoapnuts Tree - Shoapberry - Sapindus
Acerola - Malpighia
Monkey Ladder - Sea Heart - Entada gigas
Cherimoya - Annona cherimola
Caper - Capparis spinosa
Lithops - Living Stones
Chaste Tree - Vitex agnus-castus
Chilean Lantern Tree - Crinodendron hookerianum
Parrot's Beak - Lotus berthelotii
Water Hyacinth - Eichhornia crassipes
Guaiac Tree - Guaiacum officinale - Lignum-vitae
Mickey Mouse bush - Ochna serrulata
Cow's Udder - Solanum mammosum
Miracle fruit - Synsepalum dulcificum
Akebia - Akebia quinata
Chilean Firebush - Embothrium coccineum
Caesalpinia - Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Welwitschia - Welwitschia mirabilis
Saguaro - Carnegiea gigantea
Schisandra - Schisandra chinensis
Monarda - Bee balm - Bergamot
Tamarind - Tamarindus indica
Neomarica - Walking Iris
Red hot poker - Kniphofia - Tritoma
Sikkim rhubarb - Rheum nobile
Reseda - Mignonette
Paulownia - Paulownia tomentosa
Belamcanda chinensis - Leopard lily
Blue Poppy - Meconopsis
Cannonball Tree - Couroupita guianensis
Tamarillo - Cyphomandra betacea
Goji - Wolfberry - Lycium barbarum
Vanilla - Vanilla Planifolia
Stevia - Stevia rebaudiana
Pachypodium
Physalis
Ceropegia
Sturt pea - Swainsona formosa
Clematis
Grevillea
Jade vine - Strongylodon macrobotrys
Sansevieria - Snake Plant
Trochetia
Yareta - Azorella compacta
African tulip tree - Spathodea campanulata
Angel's Trumpets - Brugmansia
Achiote - Annato - Bixa orellana
Sausage Tree - Kigelia pinnata
Castor Oil Plant - Ricinus communis
Firewheel Tree - Stenocarpus sinuatus
Bat Flower - Tacca
Snake gourd - Trichosanthes cucumerina
Sedum
Hydnora - Hydnora africana
Pickerel Weed - Pontederia
Argan - Argania spinosa
Astilbe - False Goats Beard
Feijoa - Pineapple Guava - Acca sellowiana
Aquilegia - Columbine
Cassiope
Sweet Box - Sarcococca
Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera
Foxtail Lily - Eremurus
Rue - Ruta graveolens
Pittosporum
Ylang-Ylang - Cananga odorata
Rose of Jericho - Anastatica hierochuntica
Gunnera
Waterlily - Nymphaea
Calico Flower - Aristolochia
Daylily - Hemerocallis
Contorted hazel - Corylus avellana Contorta
Torch Ginger - Etlingera elatior
Mistletoe - Viscum album
Devil´s claw - Harpagophytum procumbens
Teasel - Dipsacus
Pampas grass - Gynerium argenteum - Cortaderia Selloanna
Purple coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
Coral Tree - Erythrina crista-galli
Portulaca
Lobelia
Field Poppy - Papaver Rhoeas
Narcissus - Daffodil
Mimosa pudica - Sensitive Plant
Boxwood - Buxus sempervirens
Firethorn - Pyracantha
Star of Bethlehem - Ornithogalum
Cosmos
Muscari - Grape Hyacinth
Papyrus - Cyperus papyrus
Zinnia
Honeysuckle - Lonicera
Passiflora - Passion Flower
Calendula - Marigold
Lupine - Lupinus
Canna - Indian Shot
Witch Hazel - Hamamelis
Oak - Quercus
Brunsvigia - Candelabra Flower
Tree peony - Paeonia suffruticosa
Olive - Olea europaea
Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus
Desert rose - Adenium obesum
Oleander - Nerium Oleander
Abutilon
Sweet Pea - Lathyrus odoratus
Chaenomeles - Flowering Quince
Forsythia
Amaryllis - Hippeastrum
Butchers broom - Ruscus aculeatus
Bay Laurel - Laurus nobilis
Gloriosa
Bamboo
Gladiolus
Artichoke - Cynara scolymus
Clivia - Clivia Miniata
Dipladenia - Dipladenia sanderii
Date palm - Phoenix dactylifera
Peach - Prunus persica
Almond - Prunus amygdalus
Willow - Salix
Pomegranate - Punica granatum
Protea cynaroides
Colchicum autumnale
Bird of Paradise - Strelitzia reginae
Cardon - Pachycereus pringlei
Wolffia arrhiza
Puya raimondii
Fuchsia
Asphodelus - Asphodel
Primula - Primerose
Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Heart
Edelweiss - Leontopodium alpinum
Helleborus Niger - Christmas Rose
Zantedeschia - Calla Lily
Fritillaria imperialis - Crown imperial
Aster
Heliconia
Common Sunflower - Helianthus annuus
Bee Orchid - Orphys apifera
Convalaria majalis - Lily of the Valley - Muguet
Syringa Vurgaris - Lilac
Viola
Impantiens
Snowdrop - Galanthus
Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima
Dionaea muscipula
Banksia
Sea anemone
Amorrhophallus titanum
Rafflesia arnoldi

 

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