The breadfruit tree

artocarpus-altilis

The Stabroek News profiles the breadfruit tree.

Artocarpus altilis commonly called breadfruit originated from Polynesia and Tahiti, both tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the staple foods in these islands where the islanders depend on it for their survival.

Breadfruit was spread to New Guinea and the regions of South East Asia by the earlier explorers and travellers.

On a quest to find a cheaper high energy food source for the enslaved in the British colonies in the West Indies, Captain William Bligh (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame) set sail on HMS Bounty in 1792 on his second voyage, successfully transporting approximately700 potted breadfruit saplings from Tahiti to St Vincent and Jamaica. The saplings were distributed and planted out and the harvest was awaited. When it came, however, the slaves refused to eat the breadfruit. It was long after this that breadfruit got its fame in the Caribbean, and now breadfruit trees flourish throughout the Caribbean as well as in Guyana

Breadfruit is a large, round, starchy fruit which is used as a vegetable and sometimes used to make substitute flour. It is cooked in various ways.

This beautiful large evergreen has leaves which are glossy and dark green in colour, with prominent veins. The large leaves are approx. 14 to 20 inch in length and 8 to 14 inches in width.   Male and female flowers are grouped separately on the same tree. The flowers are yellowish/green in colour.

To be continued . . .

For the original report go to http://www.stabroeknews.com/2014/features/08/10/breadfruit-tree/

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