The canistel grows up to 10 meters (33 ft) high, and produces orange-yellow fruit, also called yellow sapote, up to 7 centimeters (2.8 in) long, which are edible raw. Canistel flesh is sweet, with a texture often compared to that of a cooked egg yolk, hence its colloquial name of "eggfruit." It is closely related to the Mamey sapote and abiu.
Its binomial name is derived from the Mexican town of Campeche, where it is native. It is sometimes (wrongly) referred to as Lucuma campechiana. In the Philippines it is called chesa. In Sri Lanka this fruit is known as Laulu, Lavulu or Lawalu. In Thailand it is known by different traditional popular names such as Lamut Khamen (ละมุดเขมร="Khmer Sapodilla") or Tho Khamen (ท้อเขมร="Khmer Peach"), attributing a hypothetic Cambodian origin to this fruit. Currently those names are officially discouraged and the name Mon Khai (ม่อนไข่), Khai meaning "egg", is favored.
The plant's name in the Vietnamese language is cây trứng gà (“chicken egg” plant) because of the fruit's appearance. It also has the Vietnamese name lekima. This is very unusual because Vietnamese is a tonal, isolating language whose morphemes all consist of a single syllable. It appears that this name derives from the word lucuma. The unusual name "Lekima" has been included in the list of typhoon names, and was applied to a storm that devastated north-central Vietnam and killed from 42 to 55 people in Vietnam on 10 March 2007.
- "Pouteria campechiana". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?102607. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
- D.K.N.G. Pushpakumara (2007). "Lavulu". Underutilized fruit trees in Sri Lanka. World Agroforestry Centre, South Asia Office, New Delhi, India. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/downloads/publications/PDFs/BC07321.PDF.
- Aroi Lanna
- "Typhoon Lekima pounds central Vietnam". TerraDaily. October 4, 2007. http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Typhoon_Lekima_pounds_central_Vietnam_999.html. Retrieved 2010-09-24.