Chico Zapote - (Manilkara zapota) - also known as Sapodilla and Chico zapote is a very hard, strong, dense wood. It's color varies from a deep, solid reddish-brown to a light reddish-orange, and often a combination of both colors. Sapwood is cream in color, and makes for a nice contrast against all the red hues.
It is normal for Chico Zapote to have some minor checking and/or gum pockets. Used in Central and South America as the primary source for chewing gum, Chico Zapote also yields extremely dense and durable wood that ranges in color from reddish brown to light orange. Often times the heartwood blends itself thru this spectrum , complimented by a surrounding cream colored sapwood.
Tapped for chicle (chewing gum) since the reign of the Mayan civilization, Chico Zapote has been a diverse resource for the indigenous peoples of Central America. From its delicious fruit, to commercial grade chewing gum, to the extremely dense and strong wood for construction, this tree has helped shape the region. The Maya prized it for structural beams because of the tremendous strength, as well as it’s resistance to termites. The tree contains triterpenoids which makes it highly resistant to insects and rot. Beams have been found still intact in Mayan ruins.
Chico Zapote is not easily worked by hand. This wood turns well at high speeds and is able to take a high polish. It has a typical straight grain with fine texture. This timber is limited on the market partially due to felling prohibitions of the tree in the Yucatan (principle growing region) as an effort to protect the local chicle market.