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Moquilea platypus - Fritsch / Zapote


Native to:



Central and southern Central America, Colombia.

Dense forests, often old, on well drained slopes. Up to 600 meters above sea level. 25 meters tall.

Moquilea platypus - Fritsch / Zapote

Ecological value:

Fruits are eaten by tapirs and peccaries once they have fallen. Fruit is an important food source for wildlife. Drought tolerant. Found in lowlands of hot, tropical climates, often in dense and old forests.

Material uses:

Wood is strong and heavy, and suitable for interior applications such as furniture and cabinetwork, but is seldom felled. Not for outdoor use. The seeds yield oiticica oil which is similar to tung oil.

Edible uses:

The fruit is eaten raw and has the flavor similar to sapodilla. The fruit has the reputation of potentially causing fevers. Begins fruiting at 10 years old.

Medicinal use:

No record on this species, but flavonoid contents are common for this genus and family.

Other details:

Cultivated as an ornamental shade tree through Central America. Related species
provide charcoal. Several species in this family have declined due to deforestation. L.
caldasiana, native to Columbia, has reportedly gone extinct.


Tresha Naharwar/Christine Facella


“Moquilea Platypus.” 2023. Wikipedia. September 26, 2023.
“Licania Platypus - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 12, 2023.
Tyree et al, "Drought until death do us part: a case study of the desiccation-tolerance of a tropical moist forest seedling-tree, Licania platypus (Hemsl.) Fritsch". Journal of Experimental Botany, 2002
Image sources: Eduardo Chacón-Madrigal and Nelson Zamora Villalobos.

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