Breadfruit Tree


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Breadfruit Tree

 

the name applied to several species of trees of the genus Artocarpus, family Moraceae. The monoecious trees grow to a height of 30–35 m and have entire or lobed leaves. The plain, unisexual flowers have a simple perianth and are gathered into unisexual racemes with a fleshy axis, the tissue of which surrounds them completely. Racemes with staminate flowers are elongate or club-shaped, while those with pistillate flowers are rounded. After pollination their tissue proliferates rapidly, forming large, edible aggregate fruits. In the outer layer of the aggregate fruits is found the tightly packed fruits proper; these are drupes containing seeds 2–3 cm long.

There are about 50 species of the breadfruit tree, found in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and other tropical regions. The common breadfruit tree (A. altilis, A. communis, or A. incisa), which has been cultivated since ancient times on islands of the Pacific, is of the greatest significance. It grows up to 35 m in height and 1 m in diameter. The leaves are palmatilobate, and the aggregate fruits weigh up to 3–4 kg. No less valued is the jackfruit tree (A. integer, A. integrifolia, or A. heterophyllus), which grows up to 15 m in height and has entire leaves. Its huge aggregate fruits, which reach 50–60 cm in length and 30–40 cm in diameter, weigh up to 30 kg and are formed directly on the trunk of the tree.

The aggregate fruits of the breadfruit tree contain 60.5–80 percent starch, up to 14 percent sugars, and 0.2–0.8 percent fats. They are eaten boiled or baked. The seeds are eaten roasted. Seedless forms of species of breadfruit tree, cultivated in the tropics of both hemispheres, have the greatest economic significance. In some regions, especially on islands of Oceania, breadfruit is an important source of food. The lumber of the jackfruit tree and other species of breadfruit tree is not damaged by white ants or fungi and is used for building houses, furniture, and musical instruments.

REFERENCES

Zhukovskii, P. M. Kul’turnye rasteniia i ikh sorodichi, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1971.
Siniagin, I. I. Tropicheskoe zemledelie. Moscow, 1968.
Artocarpus. In Wealth of India: Raw Materials, vol. 1. Delhi, 1948.

S. S. MORSHCHIKHINA

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