Monday, November 28, 2011


As I'm finishing up posts on the tropics, I thought I would mention several plants that caught my eye on these trips.  The first one is the breadfruit which I encountered in Panama this summer in the Bocas del Toro and Coiba region.  It was so odd looking and therefore caught my attention.  This fruit is known as breadfruit(Artocarpus altilis) and here's what I learned. 

It's from the mulberry family, Moraceae, and grows as a tree.....and a very large one at that! Its name is derived from the texture of the cooked fruit, which has a potato-like flavor, similar to fresh-baked bread.  A lot people report enjoying the flavor but state it doesn't have the typical sweet taste associated with fruits.  I had wanted to try this, but unfortuneatly it didn't happen.  These trees can grow to a height of 85 feet and indeed, they were very tall.  I found many of them growing near a water source and bending in a curve.
The leaves are gorgeous on this plant and make quite the statement in the tropical garden.  This tree can produce a yield of around 200 fruits per season.  I loved the look, but more importantly I am curious as to how they taste.  Perhaps someday I'll get a chance to do so:)  I have another plant coming up from the tropics that I thought was interesting in the next day or so.  More tomorrow....


  1. The fruit look really spikey. You might be able to find a fruit at a local Hispanic market/grocery store. It would be interesting to see what the inside looks like and to hear a first hand account of what they taste like.

  2. To know more about this amazing tree visit the breadfruit institute or Trees That Feed Foundation. We are planting thousands of breadfruit trees in tropical countries to alleviate hunger. Breadfruit can be dried for use when the tree is not producung fruit. I grew up up eating breadfruit it is delicious. Bread from a tree, frrds people and absorbs carbon dioxide. See facebook treed that feed
    Mary McLaughlin

  3. That is an interesting looking tree and fruit. I love the color.

  4. It was really something to see in the wild....HUGE!!! Thank you Mary for that info. I'll check it out. One of the locals mentioned a similiar program in Panama. It's so strange to not see this fruit here.....or not that I'm aware of....yet.....but I will find this fruit and when I do, I'll keep you all posted:)

  5. I have had breadfruit baked in a fire - absolutely delicious, and also cooked as chips I understood that the fruit do not keep well at all. There are some growing around here and I think the leaves are so beautiful, but i don't have room for one in my garden.

  6. We also have lots of them here! But it is not as versatile as a delicacy as other Artocarpus species. We normally make it into sweets, but sweets are not really high in demand, so sometimes the fruit just fell and decay on the ground. Its leaves are so big, very similar to another species which we use as vegetable, more versatile. I posted a leaf earlier to depict the autumn color in the tropics.


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