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Common Name: Breadfruit Tree
Latin Name: Artocarpis altilis
Family: Moraceae


Range:
Between 17 degrees North and South, generally found in tropical lowlands under 600 meters above sea level

Abundance:
Breadfruit trees grow wild and semi-wild throughout their range. In most cases they aren't grown commercially, except in the nation of Samoa where it is a staple crop.

Coloration:
Breadfruit trees have brownish-green bark with green leaves and various flower colors ranging from white to yellow to pink. The fruit is a dark green at first then ripens to a lighter, yellower green. It is generally peach colored on the inside.

Morphology:
Breadfruit trees range from 12-15 meters high. They have a dense canopy formed by 6-lobed leaves 15-60 cm long. The fruits start out spiky and eventually become smooth when ripe. Seeds are located inside the fruit, and are 1-3 cm and obovoid.

Reproductive cycle:
Breadfruit is wind and insect pollinated, and it primarily reproduces sexually in the wild. Most trees are planted with root cuttings, although grafting techniques and seed planting are also utilized.

Habitat:
Breadfruit grows best below 650 m in the tropics throughout the world, namely between 17 degrees north and south of the equator. It can survive in temperatures between 5 and 40 degrees C. They can survive on 1000 mm of annual rainfall but thrive on more. Their ideal soil is deep and well drained.

Ecology:
Breadfruit's role in the ecosystem is similar to other large, fruit-producing tropical trees. It's surfaces provide living space for epiphytes and other parasitic organisms, and it's nectar and fruit are food to a number of species. It's most important role to humans is as a food producer, and its bark and leaves have a number of medicinal qualities that are still utilized in Somoa.

Interactions with other Species:
A number of bee species pollinate breadfruit, and a ton of monkeys and birds eat the ripened fruit, depending on where the tree is located. Other animals and plants use the trees as a living space. Also, a number of diseases and pest species are able to live on breadfruit trees.

Personal Experience:
We never got a chance to eat breadfruit, because it wasn't in season. We did see it around La Selva, and in Cahuita, but unfortunately the fruit was still spiky and unripe in both locations.


References:

Jairo Quijano and Gabriel J. Arango (1979). The Breadfruit from Colombia: A Detailed Chemical Analysis. Economic Botany, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1979), pp. 199-202. Published by: New York Botanical Garden Press


D. Ragone (1997). Bioversity //Breadfruit. Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg.//. 10 Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops. Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben/International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy.