The mamey sapote (Pouteria sapota) is a species of tree native to southern Mexico. Today, the tree is cultivated not only in Mexico, but also in Central America, the Caribbean, and South Florida for its fruit, which is commonly eaten in many Latin American countries. Mamey sapote is a large and highly ornamental evergreen tree that can reach a height of 15 to 45 meters (60 to 140 feet) at maturity. Like most fruit trees, it is mainly propagated by grafting, which ensures the new plant has the same characteristics as the parent, especially its fruit. It is also considerably faster than growing trees by seed. The fruit is about 10 to 25 cm (4 to 10 inches) long and 8 to 12 cm (3 to 5 inches) wide and has orange flesh.
The fruit is eaten raw out of hand or made into milkshakes, smoothies, ice cream and fruit bars. The fruit's flavor is variously described as a combination of pumpkin, sweet potato, and maraschino cherries with the texture of an avocado. Some consider the fruit to be an aphrodisiac.
The brown skin has a texture somewhat between sandpaper and the fuzz on a peach. The fruit's texture is creamy and soft. A mamey sapote is ripe when the flesh is pink when a fleck of the skin is removed. The flesh should give slightly, as with a ripe kiwifruit.
The mamey sapote is related to other sapotes such as sapodilla (Manilkara zapota), abiu (P. caimito) and canistel (P. campechiana), but unrelated to the black sapote (Diospyros digyna) and white sapote (Casimiroa edulis). It should not be confused with the mammee apple (Mammea americana).
It has different names depending on the country: mamey, zapote colorado (Costa Rica), and zapote rojo (South America), among others.