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For the Palestinain refugee camp see Balata
BalatŠ
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Ericales
Family:Sapotaceae
Genus:Manilkara
Species:M. bidentata

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

BalatŠ (Manilkara bidentata) is a species of sapodilla tree native to a large area of northern South America, Central America and the Caribbean. It is also the natural latex made from its sap.

BalatŠ is a large tree growing to 30-45 m tall. The leaves are alternate, elliptical, entire, 10-20 cm long. The flowers white, and are produced at the start of the rainy season. The fruit is an edible yellow berry, 3-5 cm diameter; it contains one (occasionally two) seeds.

Uses

The latex is extracted in the same manner in which sap is extracted from the rubber tree. It is then dried to form an inelastic rubber-like material. It is almost identical to gutta-percha (produced from a closely related southeast Asian tree), and is sometimes called gutta-balatŠ.

BalatŠ is often used in the production of golf balls, to use as the outer layer of the ball. BalatŠ-covered balls have a high spin rate, but due to the nondurable nature of the material that the golf club strikes, do not last long before requiring replacement. These balls are favoured by tournament players.

BalatŠ trees are farmed along the banks of the Amazon River and its tributaries, such as the IÁŠ. It is also the most important timber tree on Puerto Rico.

The tree is a hardwood with a red timber, which is used for furniture and as a construction material where it grows.

The fruit, like that of the related Sapodilla (Manilkara zapota), is edible, with an excellent flavour.

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