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Artocarpus altilis.jpg
Scientific Classification
  • A. altilis
  • A. anisophyllus
  • A. blancoi
  • A. camansi
  • A. cannonii
  • A. chama
  • A. comezianus
  • A. cummingianus
  • A. chaplasha
  • A. elasticus
  • A. gomezianus
  • A. heterophyllus
  • A. hirsutus
  • A. hypargyreus
  • A. integer
  • A. kemando
  • A. lacucha
  • A. mariannensis
  • A. odoratissimus
  • A. ovatus
  • A. pomiformis
  • A. rigidus
  • A. sarawakensis
  • A. sericicarpus
  • A. tamaran
  • A. tonkinensis [2]
Artocarpus elasticus.jpg
Artocarpus elasticus

Breadfruit are any of the species of tree that belong to the taxonomic genus Artocarpus. They produce fruit of the same name, which is derived from the texture of the cooked fruit that is similar to freshly baked bread. These can attain a height of up to ninety feet (although forty to fifty is more common) and usually contain both male and female flowers, although some trees are seedless. These are propagated by suckers growing into new trees. The leaves of a breadfruit are a bright green and every part of a breadfruit contains latex. They are native to the Pacific islands, particularly New Guinea. Breadfruit do not typically die from the forces of nature, but can easily be harmed by them. They thrive under tropical conditions and grow year-round with harvest typically occurring during summer or autumn. All parts of the breadfruit tree contain a latex inside. They grow best at about 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit, in light soil with ready water drainage. Breadfruit were the objective of the infamous mission commanded by British Naval Lieutenant William Bligh which ended in the mutiny on the Bounty.

Body Design

Artocarpus altilis includes a milky white latex inside

A breadfruit tree can reach up to ninety feet tall. Every part of the breadfruit tree possesses a latex inside. Its branches have hairy, glossy green leaves attached to them. The breadfruit tree usually contains both male and female seeds. [3] The fruit of a breadfruit are oblong with numerous seeds inside. [4] Breadfruit trees possess many small flowers, the males on spikes and the females in a spherical shape. When the fruit is green, its interior is harder and whiter than the soft, yellow interior of a ripe fruit. Breadfruit trees make use of numerous branches to bear their fruits and leaves. These leaves usually glossy and bright green with veins on the topside and dull with hairs on the underside.[5]

Life Cycle

As with all angiosperms, breadfruit utilize fruit and alteration of generations in order to survive. This fruit is typically an enclosed seed which later develops into a mature independent organism upon ripening. [6] Breadfruit trees possess both male and female reproductive organs (are monoecious) and each can produce about 200 breadfruits per season (800 per year). [7] They are perennial (last for longer than two years on average). [8]

Seedless breadfruit trees are propagated by removing suckers from their roots and allowing them to grow into their own independent trees. Seeded breadfruit trees always result from the male and reproductive flowers on the tree mixing their seeds to fertilize the female and create a new seed. This then develops into a new breadfruit tree which produces seeded breadfruits. [5]


Breadfruit are native to Puerto Rico

Artocarpus or 'breadfruit' is native to many Pacific islands, especially New Guinea. They typically grow best in tropical regions, namely areas at about 2000 feet elevation, but can be found at over five thousand feet above sea level. Breadfruit grows best in climates with summer rains at about one-and-one-half inches of rainfall per year and about seventy to ninety degrees Fahrenheit temperature. The soil in which it grows should be light, non-acidic, and have available water drainage. While it can tolerate certain unfavorable conditions, such as fire, frost, salt spray, and wind, it has a tendency to be damaged by these conditions and may never fully recover. Typically, one or two crops are produced in each year, at regular times, usually in summer and then in autumn. Breadfruit trees are quite sensitive to parasites and disease, so if they are to be grown as a crop, special care must be used to ensure that they survive in healthy conditions, often by removing dead parts of trees and ensuring that drainage is present. [9]

Mutiny on the Bounty

Near the end of the 1700s many slave owners on Caribbean plantations were interested in a new energy source for their slaves. It was proposed that breadfruit be shipped in from the Pacific islands to meet this need. Lieutenant William Bligh was given command of a cutter and relatively small crew to accomplish this for the Royal Navy to earn a monetary reward from the Royal Society. The original trip was easy and Tahiti, the island from which the breadfruit was to be gathered was selected. After an easy life on the island, many of the men began to disobey orders and slacken in their duties, causing Bligh to be left with no choice but to order more punishments, namely floggings.

This angered the men and three deserted to be recaptured. After departing from Tahiti the men, under Master's Mate Fletcher Christian, mutinied on April 28, 1789 and sent Bligh with most of his loyalists back to England in a lifeboat. He returned to England and the Royal Navy set off to find the mutineers who had landed on Pitcairn or returned to Tahiti. Many of the men were recaptured from Tahiti and Pitcairn, but only a few were punished (only three were hanged). In 1791 Bligh returned with breadfruit to the Caribbean but they were useless since none of the slaves would eat it. [10]


Directions on the consumption of raw Ulu (breadfruit).



  1. Forst, J.R. & G.. PLANTS Profile for Artocarpus (breadfruit) USDA PLANTS. Web. Accessed 19 May 2013.
  2. Forst, J.R. & G.. Artocarpus Wikispecies. Web. Accessed 19 May 2013.
  3. Author Unknown. ARTOCARPUS ALTILIS - BREADFRUIT Tropilab Inc.. Web. Accessed 28 May 2013.
  4. Prescod, Fred. Comparing Breadfruit, Breadfruit, and Jacknut: How are they related? Web. Accessed 29 May 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Morton, J. Breadfruit Purdue University. Web. Accessed 3 June 2013.
  6. Carter, Stein, J. Angiosperms Biology at Clermont College, University of Cincinnati. Web. Accessed 27 May 2013.
  7. Author Unknown Breadfruit-Tree, Pictures, Nutrition, Benefits, Calories, Uses and Recipes Only Foods. Web. Accessed 30 May 2013.
  8. Author Unknown Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) Backyard Gardener. Web. Accessed 1 June 2013.
  9. Ragone, Diane. Species Profile for Pacific Island Agroforestry Traditional Tree Initiative. Web. Accessed 19 May 2013.
  10. Mutiny on the Bounty - Mutiny on the Bounty History Web. Accessed 1 June 2013.