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Breadfruit

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Breadfruit

Breadfruit cultivated on Hawai'i Island
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Rosales
Family:Moraceae
Genus:Artocarpus
Species:A. altilis

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

The breadfruit is a tree (and its fruit) native to the East Indian and Pacific islands, which has also been widely planted in tropical regions elsewhere.

It was first collected and distributed by Lieutenant William Bligh as one of the botanical samples collected by HMS Bounty in the late 18th century.

Breadfruit is an attractive shade tree, growing to a height of 20 m. The large, thick leaves are, on the same tree, almost entire to deeply cut into pinnate lobes. All parts of the tree yield latex, a milky juice. This latex is used for boat caulking. The trees are monoecious, i.e. with male and female flowers growing on the same tree. The male flowers emerge first, followed shortly afterwards by the female flowers, growing into a capitulum. These can be pollinated three days later. The pollinators are Old World fruit bats (family Pteropodidae). The compound false fruit develops from the swollen perianth and originates from 1,500-2,000 flowers. These are visible on the skin of the fruit as hexagon-like disks.

It is one of the highest-yielding food plants, a single tree producing up to 800 or more fruits per season. The grapefruit-sized ovoid fruit have a rough surface, and each fruit is divided into many achenes, each achene surrounded by a fleshy perianth and growing on a fleshy receptacle. Some selectively-bred cultivars have seedless fruit.

Breadfruits are a staple food in many tropical regions. They are very rich in starch, and before being eaten they are roasted, baked, fried or boiled. The taste is described as potato-like.

See also

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Reference

Bligh, W. 1792. A Voyage to the South Sea. For the Purpose of Conveying the Breadfruit Tree to the West Indies in HMS Bounty. George Nicol, London

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