name = Breadfruit

image_width = 240px
image_caption = Breadfruit cultivated on Hawai'i Island
regnum = Plantae
phylum = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Rosales
familia = Moraceae
genus = "Artocarpus"
species = "A. altilis"
binomial = "Artocarpus altilis"
binomial_authority = (Parkinson) Fosberg

Breadfruit ("Artocarpus altilis") is a tree and fruit native to the Malay Peninsula and western Pacific islands. It has also been widely planted in tropical regions elsewhere. It was collected and distributed by Lieutenant William Bligh as one of the botanical samples collected by HMS "Bounty" in the late 18th century, on a quest for cheap, high-energy food sources for British slaves in the West Indies.


Breadfruit trees grow to a height of 20 m (66 ft). The large and thick leaves are deeply cut into pinnate lobes. All parts of the tree yield latex, a milky juice, which is used for boat caulking.

The trees are monoecious, with male and female flowers growing on the same tree. The male flowers emerge first, followed shortly afterward by the female flowers, which grow into a capitulum, which are capable of pollination just 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.

Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing up to 200 or more fruits per season. In the South Pacific, the trees yield 50 to 150 fruits per year. In southern India, normal production is 150 to 200 fruits annually. Productivity varies between wet and dry areas. In the West Indies, a conservative estimate is 25 fruits per tree. Studies in Barbados indicate a reasonable potential of 6.7 to 13.4 tons per acre (16-32 tons/ha). Much higher yields have been forecast, but experts are skeptical and view these predictions as unrealistic. The grapefruit-sized ovoid fruit has 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.

The breadfruit is closely related to the breadnut and the jackfruit. It is called "Kada Chakka"in Malayalam language .


Breadfruit is a staple food in many tropical regions. They were propagated far outside their native range by Polynesian voyagers who transported root cuttings and air-layered plants over long ocean distances. They are very rich in starch, and before being eaten they are roasted, baked, fried, or boiled. When cooked the taste is described as potato-like, or similar to fresh baked bread (hence the name).Because breadfruit trees usually produce large crops at certain times of the year, preservation is an issue. One traditional preservation technique is to bury peeled and washed fruits in a leaf-lined pit where they ferment over several weeks and produce a sour, sticky paste. So stored, the product may last a year or more, and some pits are reported to have produced edible contents more than 20 years later. [Balick, M. & Cox, P. (1996). Plants, People and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany. New York: Scientific American Library HPHLP, p.85] Fermented breadfruit mash goes by many names such as "mahr", "ma", "masi", "furo", and "bwiru", among others.Most breadfruit varieties also produce a small number of fruits throughout the year, so fresh breadfruit is always available, but somewhat rare when not in season.

Breadfruit can be eaten once cooked, or can be further processed into a variety of other foods. A common product is a mixture of cooked or fermented breadfruit mash mixed with coconut milk and baked in banana leaves. Whole fruits can be cooked in an open fire, then cored and filled with other foods such as coconut milk, sugar and butter, cooked meats, or other fruits. The filled fruit can be further cooked so that the flavor of the filling permeates the flesh of the breadfruit.

The Hawaiian staple food called "poi" made of mashed taro root is easily substituted or augmented with mashed breadfruit. The resulting “breadfruit poi” is called "poi ‘ulu".

Breadfruit is roughly 25% carbohydrates and 70% water. It has an average amount of vitamin C(20mg/100g) and small amounts of minerals (potassium and zinc) and vitamins B1 (100μg) . [Nutrition Facts for Breadfruit [] ]

Breadfruit was widely and diversely used among Pacific Islanders. Its wood is resistant to termites and marine worms, and consequently it was used as timber for structures and canoes. [The Breadfruit Institute] Its wood pulp can also be used to make paper, called "breadfruit tapa". [The Breadfruit Institute] It is also used in traditional medicine to treat illnesses that range from sore eyes to sciatica. [The Breadfruit Institute]


In tropical countries; breadfruit is sometimes roasted or baked, breadfruit can also be boiled.

In culture

According to an etiological Hawaiian myth, the breadfruit originated from the sacrifice of the war god . After deciding to live secretly among mortals as a farmer, Ku married and had children. He and his family lived happily until a famine seized their island. When he could no longer bear to watch his children suffer, Ku told his wife that he could deliver them from starvation, but to do so he would have to leave them. Reluctantly, she agreed, and at her word, Ku descended into the ground right where he had stood until only the top of his head was visible. His family waited around the spot he had last been day and night, watering it with their tears until suddenly a small green shoot appeared where Ku had stood. Quickly, the shoot grew into a tall and leafy tree that was laden with heavy breadfruits that Ku's family and neighbors gratefully ate, joyfully saved from starvation. [Loebel-Fried, C. (2002)]

Though they are widely distributed throughout the Pacific, many breadfruit hybrids and cultivars are seedless or otherwise biologically incapable of naturally dispersing long distances. Therefore, their distribution in the Pacific was clearly enabled by humans, specifically prehistoric groups who colonized the Pacific Islands. To investigate the patterns of human migration throughout the Pacific, scientists have used molecular dating of breadfruit hybrids and cultivars in concert with anthropological data. Results support the west-to-east migration hypothesis, in which the Lapita people are thought to have traveled from Melanesia to numerous Polynesian islands. [Zerega, "et al." (2004)]

The breadfruit tree was mentioned in "The Coral Island", a novel written by Scottish juvenile fiction author R.M. Ballantyne.

"The Breadnut and the Breadfruit" is a short story by Maryse Condé.

See also

* Jackfruit ("Artocarpus heterophyllus")
* List of fruits
* Célestine Hitiura Vaite, whose first novel "Breadfruit", is reportedly the most widely read book in French Polynesia


* [ Breadfruit Institute, National Tropical Botanical Garden]
*aut|Loebel-Fried, C. (2002): Hawaiian Legend of the Guardian Spirits. "University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu". [ Excerpted story online]
*aut|Zerega, N. J. C.; Ragone, D. & Motley, T.J. (2004): The complex origins of breafruit ("Artocarpus altilis", Moraceae): Implications for human migrations in Oceania. "American Journal of Botany" 91(5): 760-766. [ PDF full text]

External links

* [ A Voyage to the South Sea] by William Bligh, 1792, from Project Gutenberg. The title in part of Bligh's own account of the famous mutiny is: "A Voyage to the South Sea, undertaken by command of His Majesty, for the purpose of conveying the bread-fruit tree to the West Indies"
* [ Breadfruit Institute]
* [ Fruits of Warm Climates: Breadfruit]
* [ Know and Enjoy Tropical Fruit: Jackfruit, Breadfruit & Relatives]
* [ Nutrition Facts for Breadfruit]
* [ Artocarpus altilis (Moraceae)]
* cite book
author=D. Ragone
title=Breadfruit. Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg.
volume=10 Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops
publisher= Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben/International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy |url=

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Breadfruit — Bread fruit , n. (Bot.) 1. The fruit of a tree ({Artocarpus incisa}) found in the islands of the Pacific, esp. the South Sea islands. It is of a roundish form, from four to six or seven inches in diameter, and, when baked, somewhat resembles… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • breadfruit — ► NOUN ▪ a large round starchy fruit of a tropical tree, used as a vegetable and to make a substitute for flour …   English terms dictionary

  • breadfruit — [bred′fro͞ot΄] n. 1. a tropical tree (Artocarpus altilis) of the mulberry family, with large, round, usually seedless fruit 2. this fruit, with a starchy pulp, which resembles bread when baked …   English World dictionary

  • breadfruit —    Ulu, kino o Haumea.   See sayings, kī o e, pakī, ule, ulu.    ♦ Cooked but unpounded breadfruit, ulu pa a.   ♦ Breadfruit pudding, paipaie e, pepeie e, piele.   ♦ Rotten breadfruit, ulu pilo.   ♦ Male breadfruit flower, ule ulu, pōule, pō ulu …   English-Hawaiian dictionary

  • breadfruit — /bred frooht /, n. 1. a large, round, starchy fruit borne by a tree, Artocarpus altilis, of the mulberry family, native to the Pacific islands, used, baked or roasted, for food. 2. the tree bearing this fruit. [1690 1700; BREAD + FRUIT] * * *… …   Universalium

  • breadfruit — [[t]bre̱dfruːt[/t]] N VAR (breadfruit is both the singular and the plural form.) Breadfruit are large round fruit that grow on trees in the Pacific Islands and in tropical parts of America and that, when baked, look and feel like bread …   English dictionary

  • breadfruit — UK [ˈbredˌfruːt] / US [ˈbredˌfrut] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms breadfruit : singular breadfruit plural breadfruits a large round fruit that looks like bread after you have cooked it …   English dictionary

  • breadfruit — noun a) An evergreen tree, Artocarpus altilis, native to islands of the east Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean. b) The large round fruit of this tree. Syn: breadfruit tree …   Wiktionary

  • breadfruit — paprastasis duonmedis statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Šilkmedinių šeimos daržovinis, krakmolinis augalas (Artocarpus altilis), paplitęs atogrąžų Azijoje, kituose atogrąžų kraštuose auginamas. Jo sėklos ir vaisiai valgomi. atitikmenys: lot.… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • Breadfruit Apartments — (Порт Вила,Вануату) Категория отеля: 3 звездочный отель Адрес: Captain Cook Av …   Каталог отелей

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