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ARTOCARPUS altilis

Image of Artocarpus altilis

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Moraceae

Botanical Name

ARTOCARPUS altilis

Plant Common Name

Breadfruit

General Description

Captain William Bligh of the HMS Bounty brought breadfruit to the West Indies in the 1790s from his journeys across the South Pacific. While the precise origins of the breadfruit tree are not clear, it's likely native to Indonesia and Malaysia. Its movement by man is largely to blame. Through the centuries, peoples cultivated it for its fruit and wood and seeds were carried eastward as the islands of the South Pacific became inhabited.

Breadfruit is a fast-growing tropical tree. Both the fruit's flesh and seeds are edible and its strong, lightweight wood is used in boat-making and building. It is fully evergreen producing glossy emerald green leaves that are deeply lobed and attractive. Light yellow veins run through the lobes. Male or female flowers arise on different branches on the same tree at different times at anytime of year, but especially in summer and winter. Male flowers are long, club-like and yellow-green. Female blossoms persist longer, resembling rounded balls of tiny blossoms. Insects pollinate the flowers, with female blossoms maturing into a pale yellowish green, large mango-sized fruit with warty skin. Seedless forms of the fruit are more commonly grown for commerce. But trees that produce seeded fruits are also eaten for their seeds, which are called breadnuts. The large seeds taste like chestnuts when roasted. During periods of drought, both leaves and fruits can abort.

Breadfruit tree is a true tropical plant that requires full sun and fertile soil rich in organic matter. Fast-growing, it becomes a more beautiful tree if provided consistent regular moisture and sun. Use it as a shade tree near the beach or in a spacious park or residential yard.

Breadfruit flesh is dense and white and looks a lot like that of a potato. The fruits do not store well and must be boiled and eaten quickly for the best taste and nutritive value. Boil, fry or bake the starchy fruits.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H2

  • Plant Type

    Fruit

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    45'-60' / 13.7m - 18.3m

  • Width

    50'-80' / 15.2m - 24.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia, Melanesia, Micronesia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow Green

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Green, Yellow Green, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Edible, Feature Plant, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Shade Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No