When time and funding permit, each flower (each plant species) will have its own page, and its own PDF, and eventually its own PPT so that professors and students have plenty of material on Guatemala (and Honduras, etc) to study.

Heliconia adflexa, Coban, Guatemala, Hotel Monja Blanca, FLAAR, by Nicholas Hellmuth

This space is for flowers
we have recently found and photographed.

Reports by FLAAR Mesoamerica
on Flora & Fauna of Parque Nacional Yaxha Nakum Naranjo
Peten, Guatemala, Central America

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Bibliography on Licania platypus that we found in kitchen garden, Finca Gangadiwali, Municipio de Livingston.

Zunso (Licania platypus) an edible fruit from Livingston

During our field trips to Livingston we have found many interesting plants, our search is always focused on plants that have some ethnobotany use. In this case, Licania platypus is a tree with an edible fruit, however, it’s not very common to find it in the markets. More likely to find the tree in kitchen gardens that surround local houses in rural areas.


According to Chízmar (2009), the pulp of ripe fruits is very sweet and aromatic. It is consumed raw and occasionally in soft drinks. It is a fruit with good commercial possibilities due to its good size and ease of transport, but it is necessary to select better quality cultivars (less fiber and smaller seeds) to increase its commercialization. Studies on production and handling are also needed.

Licania platypus, zunso, soursop, fruits Finca Gangadiwali, Municipio de Livingston. This could either be wild, or remaining from an old kitchen garden.

Photo by David Arrivillaga, Sony camera, December 17, 2020.

The tree is also grown as an ornamental and for shade. Wood is not widely used because it is hard, strong, very heavy and difficult to work, but it can be preserved and is mainly used for rural construction. It is also used to produce firewood and charcoal, in joinery and carpentry in general, for tool handles and agricultural implements. This tree has been recorded both in Izabal, Petén, Alta Verapaz and the South Coast, in humid or very humid forests.

In addition, the research by Aguilar et al (2018) reveals that the leaves of this tree have medicinal properties to treat gastric and gastrointestinal problems. There may still be many other undiscovered properties of this species.

There are dozens of trees named sapote or zapote

Sapote (more in English) and zapote (more in Spanish) are generic words used for dozens of local fruits in Guatemala and surrounding countries. Most of these zapote or sapote are not even the same genus; some are not even the same plant family.

Licania platypus can be wild in the forest or in kitchen garden, or escaped

You can find this tree wild in the forest. Or it may be planted around a house to provide fruits (though mamey sapote is the most preferred in a kitchen garden). Or, if found in a forest, there could have been a house nearby a century ago and the house is now rotted away long ago but Licania platypus survived from the kitchen garden.

Licania platypus Licania platypus

Licania platypus, zunso, soursop, fruits Finca Gangadiwali, Municipio de Livingston. This could either be wild, or remaining from an old kitchen garden.

Photo by Nicholas Hellmuth, Nikon D810, December 17, 2020.

PDF, Articles, Books on Licania platypusSansapote, Zunzapote,
Zapote amarillo, Zapote cabello, Zunsa, Zunso, Sunso

  • OROZCO-Aguilar, Josué, CHAVARRÍA-Rojas, Marianela, SANDÍ-Flores, Jennifer,
    ALVARADO-Barboza, Gilbert, CORDERO-García, Eugenia, MORALES-Acuña,
    Juan Alberto, RETANA-Salazar, Axel and Sara GONZÁLEZ-Camacho
  • 2018
  • Efecto del extracto acuoso de hojas de Licania platypus (Hemsl.) Fritsh. Sobre la protección gástrica y la motilidad gastrointestinal. Revista médica de la Universidad de Costa Rica. Vol. 11, No. 2, Art. 2

    Available Online:

    Note: ethnopharmacology information on Licania platypus


Suggested webpages with photos and information on Licania platypus

Information of Sansapote found in Petén

Description and general information

General information. Flowering time: March, May, June, July, September, October, November.

General information

General information and nice photos

Complete information and photos


First posted February 18, 2021
Written by Vivian Hurtado, manager of bibliography preparation, FLAAR Mesoamerica.


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