Mamey sapote is a large and highly ornamental evergreen tree that can reach a height of 15 to 45 meters (49 to 148 ft) at maturity. It is mainly propagated by grafting, which ensures the new plant has the same characteristics as the parent, especially its fruit, as it doesn't grow true to seed. It is also considerably faster than growing trees by seed, producing fruit in three to five years; trees grown from seed require seven years of growth before fruiting. In Florida, the fruit is harvested from May to July with some cultivars available all year.
The fruit, technically a berry, is about 10 to 25 cm (4 to 10 in) long and 8 to 12 cm (3 to 4.5 in) wide and has flesh ranging in color from pink to orange to red. The brown skin has a texture somewhat between sandpaper and the fuzz on a peach. The fruit's texture is creamy and soft, the flavor is a mix of sweet potato, pumpkin, honey, prune, peach, apricot, cantaloupe, cherry, and almond. A mamey sapote is ripe when the flesh is vibrant salmon colored when a fleck of the skin is removed.The flesh should give slightly, as with a ripe kiwifruit. The leaves are pointed at both ends, 4 to 12 inches in length and grow in clusters at the ends of branches.
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).