Breadfruit tree

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Breadfruit tree
Breadfruit tree in Honolulu, Hawaii

Breadfruit tree in Honolulu , Hawaii

Eurosiden I
Order : Rose-like (rosales)
Family : Mulberry family (Moraceae)
Genre : Breadfruit trees ( Artocarpus )
Type : Breadfruit tree
Scientific name
Artocarpus altilis
( Parkinson's ) Fosberg
Male inflorescence
Female inflorescence
The breadfruit

The breadfruit tree ( Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg ; synonym : Artocarpus communis J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. , Artocarpus incisus (Thunb.) Lf ) is a tropical evergreen tree that belongs to the mulberry family (Moraceae). Originally native to tropical Southeast Asia, the tree is now grown as a useful plant in Asia , Africa , Hawaii ( Hawaiian : ʻulu), Central America , Brazil and the Caribbean .


The tree

The evergreen breadfruit tree is a medium-sized, up to 20-30 meters high and broad-crowned tree. Occasionally, buttress roots develop at the base of the trunk . The diameter of the gray-brown trunk reaches 60 to 100 centimeters or more.

The whole plant has a skin-irritating, milky sap . For this reason, the fruits are often harvested by breaking them off with long poles.

Leaves, flowers and fruits

The breadfruit tree forms very large, alternate, screwy and leathery, short-stalked, almost bare, slightly scaly leaves. The thick petiole is up to 7 inches long. The multifaceted, oval in outline, normally up to 30–60 (up to 90) centimeters long, leathery, on the underside somewhat hairy on the veins leaves are whole or lobed to divided and sometimes sleek. They are usually at the end of long branches. They are pointed at the tip or on the lobes. The long, stalk-encompassing and hairy stipules are sloping.

The monoecious, monoecious breadfruit tree carries separated male and female inflorescences that make up up to three harvests a year to develop, each providing up to 50 fruit stands. The tree remains productive for up to 70 years. The yellow male flowers are in long, club-shaped flask , the green female in head . There are hundreds to thousands of very small flowers in each of the inflorescences. The male flowers have a two- to four-part, tubular perianth and only a slightly protruding stamen , they are usually surrounded by small bracts . The female flowers sit on the fleshy, spongy flower base and have a tubular, overgrown perianth and protruding scars or scar branches.

Its green, yellow-green to green-brown colored when ripe, up to 6 kg heavy, rounded to ellipsoidal or egg-shaped, polygonal warty "fruits" with a diameter of about 15 to 30 cm - actually they are fruit associations - with white pulp are mainly used in Asia as a staple food . The fruits contain up to 22% starch and 1–2% protein .

Chromosome number

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 56 or 84.


Original distribution areas and first distribution

The breadfruit tree is originally native to Polynesia and was probably already spread beyond its natural range by humans in the 12th century (so-called hemerochory ). The tree probably came to Hawaii from Samoa during this period .

Breadfruit - reason for the bounty trip and the mutiny

The famous mutiny on the Bounty was caused by the breadfruit: Lt. William Bligh received from King George III in 1787 . order to bring cuttings of the breadfruit tree from Tahiti to the West Indies . They should serve as cheap food for the slaves on the local sugar cane plantations. The sailors of the Bounty were not only outraged because the precious drinking water on the ship had to be used to irrigate the cuttings, but also longed for the women of Tahiti. After the mutiny, they threw the cargo overboard.

Later, Bligh, now Captain, received a second command with the same assignment, which he successfully completed. However, the slaves did not accept the new food as a substitute for their usual grain . From Jamaica , the tree was ultimately spread to Central America and northern South America .



The fruits are eaten raw or cooked as well as fermented. The fruits contain up to 68% water, 22% starch , 4.9% fiber , 1–2% protein and 0.2% fat. In addition there are u. a. on 100 g: 21 mg vitamin C, 490 mg potassium, 31 mg calcium, 36 mg phosphorus and 25 mg magnesium.


The flour obtained from the dried pulp, with its very high energy content comparable to cereals, contains among other things up to 75% starch, up to 31% sugar, up to 5% protein and up to almost 2% fat.

But the seeds are also edible, as are the male inflorescences.

Man and breadfruit

The breadfruit is mainly used as a food in Polynesia , the Caribbean , South India and Sri Lanka .

The breadfruit is harvested while still green, turns golden yellow after ripening and then has a strong, sweet taste. Cooked unripe fruits are consumed as vegetables or puree . The uses are just as diverse as potatoes; you can fry them using the same recipes, make salads and so on. When fully ripe, the fruit can also be eaten raw . The pulp can be dried and ground into flour. The fruit contains 16 to 24 chestnut-sized nuts, the starchy seeds of which are ground into flour after roasting . Bread can be baked from these flours .


Web links

Commons : Breadfruit Tree ( Artocarpus altilis )  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Breadfruit tree  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ʻulu in Hawaiian Dictionaries
  2. Karl Herrmann: Exotic Food. 2nd edition, Springer, Berlin a. a. 1987, ISBN 3-540-16830-3 , p. 60.
  3. Artocarpus altilis at In: IPCN Chromosome Reports . Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
  4. ↑ Bread fruit on