Ciku



Ciku (Manilkara zapota), a tropical fruit tree also known as sapodilla, belongs to the family Sapotaceae. Various species are grown and used worldwide for different purposes.1 Due to its fruit’s resemblance to a pear, it was also called Manilkara achras, Achras zapota or Nispero achras, a derivative of the Greek word achras for the pear tree.2

Origins and distribution
Sapodilla is believed to be native to Yucatan in Mexico, as well as Northeastern Guatemala and the West Indies, where it is a tall tree found in forests. Spanish colonialists brought a variety of Manilkara to Manila where it became known for its fruit.3 From the Philippines, it spread throughout Southeast Asia as a popular fruit tree.4


Various species of sapodilla are now cultivated in Africa, India, Philippines, Malaysia, the tropics and sub-tropics of the Americas. Found in almost all tropical countries worldwide,5 ciku has about 75 related species across the globe.6 They are used for various purposes such as for its fruit, wood and medicinal properties. Manilkara duplicata, also known as Mimosops globose, was introduced into the Singapore botanical gardens for its fruit and timber.7

Germination is through seeds that remain viable for a few months. Grafting and marcotting are used to obtain cloned material.8

Description
The ciku tree is evergreen. It has a conical crown, and can grow up to 30 m in height. Its bark is light grey and becomes fissured with age. The tree, with all its parts, has a white latex. The young twigs are covered in a woolly layer. Its leaves are spirally arranged, dark green and pointed. It has a stalk measuring between 1 and 3 cm. The flowers are white, fragrant, solitary and bisexual. They have six free sepals in two whorls on the outside. The petals are joined in a corolla tube with six lobes, six stamens and six staminodes.9 The ovary is superior and it has a single style.10

Ciku fruits are brown, round or oblong, with a thin skin. The flesh is sweet, soft and reddish-brown. Each fruit contains a few seeds that are hard, black, elongated, flat and shiny.11

Usage
Food
While sapodilla is usually consumed fresh, the fruit is commercialised for its flavour in sherbet, drinks, butter and ice-cream.12 It is also used to make pies, syrup, sauces and jam, and fermented to get wine or vinegar.13


The latex of the tree Manilkara balata coagulates into what is known as chicle, which was used to form the base for chewing gums before synthetic material came to be used.14

Medicine
In Java, sapodilla flowers are used with other ingredients to produce powder that is rubbed onto the stomach of women after child birth.15


The seeds, flowers and bark contain tannin and saponin with medicinal properties.16 The seeds are also diuretic.17 In Malaysia, the seeds are used to treat fever.18 Unripe fruits are eaten to stop purging and to treat mild diarrhoea. The Chinese also use the bark to treat diarrhoea.19

Other uses
The gum-latex of Manilkara balata is used in dental surgeries, as well as for making transmission belts and as a substitute for trees known as gutta percha for insulating electrical cables. The wood of Manilkara kauki and Manilkara duplicata is used to make furniture.20


Henry Ridley noted that Manilkara kauki timber was used to make coffins in Malaya.21

Variant names
Common names: Ciku, sapodilla.22
Scientific names: Manilkara zapota; older generic names include Achras zapota and Manilkara achras.23
Malay names: Ciku, chiku (Malaysia), sawo manila, sawo londo (Indonesia).24
Other common names: Naseberry, chicle, sapodilla plum, chico, chiku, chico sapote.25



Author
Naidu Ratnala Thulaja



References
1. Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula (Vol. II). Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Agriculture, p. 1443. (Call no.: RSEA 634.9095951 BUR); Morton, J. F. (1987). Sapodilla. Retrieved 2017, May 17 from Purdue University website: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/sapodilla.html
2. Wee, Y. C. (2003). Tropical trees and shrubs: A selection for urban planting. Singapore: Sun Tree Publishing, p. 233. (Call no.: RSING 582.16095957 WEE)
3. Morton, J. F. (1987). Sapodilla. Retrieved 2017, May 17 from Purdue University website: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/sapodilla.html; Rao, A. N., & Wee, Y. C. (1989). Singapore trees. Singapore: Singapore Institute of Biology, p. 221. (Call no.: RSING 582.16095957 RAO)
4. Rao, A. N., & Wee, Y. C. (1989). Singapore trees. Singapore: Singapore Institute of Biology, p. 221. (Call no.: RSING 582.16095957 RAO)
5. Morton, J. F. (1987). Sapodilla. Retrieved 2017, May 17 from Purdue University website: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/sapodilla.html
6. Wee, Y. C. (2003). Tropical trees and shrubs: A selection for urban planting. Singapore: Sun Tree Publishing, p. 233. (Call no.: RSING 582.16095957 WEE)
7. Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula (Vol. II). Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Agriculture, p. 1444. (Call no.: RSEA 634.9095951 BUR)
8. Wee, Y. C. (2003). Tropical trees and shrubs: A selection for urban planting. Singapore: Sun Tree Publishing, p. 233. (Call no.: RSING 582.16095957 WEE)
9. Wee, Y. C. (2003). Tropical trees and shrubs: A selection for urban planting. Singapore: Sun Tree Publishing, p. 233. (Call no.: RSING 582.16095957 WEE)
10. Nathan, A., & Wong, Y. C. (1987). A guide to fruits and seeds. Singapore: Singapore Science Centre, p. 50. (Call no.: RSING 582 NAT)
11. Nathan, A., & Wong, Y. C. (1987). A guide to fruits and seeds. Singapore: Singapore Science Centre, p. 50. (Call no.: RSING 582 NAT)
12. Jensen, M. (1995). Trees commonly cultivated in Southeast Asia: An illustrated field guide. Bangkok, Thailand: FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, p. 155. (Call no.: RSING 582.160959 JEN)
13. Wee, Y. C. (2003). Tropical trees and shrubs: A selection for urban planting. Singapore: Sun Tree Publishing, p. 233. (Call no.: RSING 582.16095957 WEE)
14. Wee, Y. C. (2003). Tropical trees and shrubs: A selection for urban planting. Singapore: Sun Tree Publishing, p. 233. (Call no.: RSING 582.16095957 WEE)
15. Wee, Y. C. (2003). Tropical trees and shrubs: A selection for urban planting. Singapore: Sun Tree Publishing, p. 233. (Call no.: RSING 582.16095957 WEE)
16. Jensen, M. (1995). Trees commonly cultivated in Southeast Asia: An illustrated field guide. Bangkok, Thailand: FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, p. 155. (Call no.: RSING 582.160959 JEN)
17. Morton, J. F. (1987). Sapodilla. Retrieved 2017, May 17 from Purdue University website: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/sapodilla.html
18. Wee, Y. C. (2003). Tropical trees and shrubs: A selection for urban planting. Singapore: Sun Tree Publishing, p. 233. (Call no.: RSING 582.16095957 WEE)
19. Wee, Y. C. (1992). A guide to medicinal plants. Singapore: Singapore Science Centre, p. 98. (Call no.: RSING 581.634095957 WEE)
20. Wee, Y. C. (2003). Tropical trees and shrubs: A selection for urban planting. Singapore: Sun Tree Publishing, p. 233. (Call no.: RSING 582.16095957 WEE)
21. Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula (Vol. II). Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Agriculture, p. 1444. (Call no.: RSEA 634.9095951 BUR)
22. Othman Yaacob & Subhadrabandhu, S. (1995). The production of economic fruits in South-East Asia. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 179. (Call no.: RSING 634.0959 OTH); Nathan, A., & Wong, Y. C. (1987). A guide to fruits and seeds. Singapore: Singapore Science Centre, p. 50. (Call no.: RSING 582 NAT)
23. Jensen, M. (1995). Trees commonly cultivated in Southeast Asia: An illustrated field guide. Bangkok, Thailand: FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, p. 155. (Call no.: RSING 582.160959 JEN)
24. Jensen, M. (1995). Trees commonly cultivated in Southeast Asia: An illustrated field guide. Bangkok, Thailand: FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, p. 155. (Call no.: RSING 582.160959 JEN)
25. Jensen, M. (1995). Trees commonly cultivated in Southeast Asia: An illustrated field guide. Bangkok, Thailand: FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, p. 155. (Call no.: RSING 582.160959 JEN)



The information in this article is valid as at 2003 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


 

 

Subject
Science and technology>>Agriculture>>Fruit crops
Plants
Tropical fruit-Singapore
Nature>>Plants