The breadfruit tree originates from Polynesia but is now grown in most tropical regions of the world.
Breadfruits are rich in starch and are used as staple food in many tropical regions. The fruits are sometimes eaten ripe as a fruit, but more often they are used underripe as a vegetable.
Breadfruit trees have beautiful leaves and are used as ornamental trees in gardens and parks.
Árbol del pan
Arbre a pain
Albero del pane
Basic information and facts
Breadfruit is native to Polynesia.
Tropical regions all over the world.
Evergreen or deciduous:
Evergreen in wet tropics, but deciduous in regions with prolonged dry periods.
Male and female flowers are growing on the same tree.
Large and thick glossy dark green leaves. The leaves are deeply cut into pinnate lobes.
Fruits are round or ovoid and measure 15-20 cm long and about 20 cm in diameter. Breadfruits have a thin green skin. When mature the color is pale green with some red brown areas. The skin has an irregular polygon pattern. The interior of mature fruits is white or pale and starchy.
Climate and weather:
Breadfruit requires a tropical climate.
Pollination by wind and/or fruit bats. Hand pollination is good for fruit setting and will result in larger fruits.
15 meter (but can reach up to 20 meter)
All year round
Type of soil:
Any soil, but prefers deep, fertile, well-drained soil.
Moderate to fast growing tree
Spacing (close range)
Spacing (wide range)
Seeded breadfruit is grown from seeds. Seedless breadfruit is propagated by transplanting suckers which naturally spring up from the roots.
Few pest problems, but sometime mealybugs or soft scales.
A fungal disease can cause soft rot.
Harvest by hand. Breadfruits are picked when mature (after appearance of small drops of latex on the surface). When harvesting fruits by hand, take care because the broken pedicel leaks a lot of latex.
Breadfruits are rich in starch and are used as staple food in many tropical regions. The fruits are sometimes eaten ripe as a fruit, but in general breadfruits are used underripe (wholly or partly green) as a vegetable.
Breadfruit is almost always cooked before eating it. Use the breadfruit as it begins to become ripe, because a fully ripened breadfruit is too soft and not so good.
Proverbs and Quotes
- Gather the breadfruit from the farthest branches first.
- “ ‘Ai ‘ulu, tuana’i ta’isi” (Samoan proverb: “When eating breadfruit, taisi is ignored")
Taisi is a traditional Samoan food prepared by cooking taro in a samoan oven. When breadfruit (ulu) was introduced in Samoa, some people started growing breadfruit and ignored the traditional habits of working in groups to plant taro. So the proverb refers to persons who ignore the effort of other people to build up together when they favor something else, but there’s a shortcoming in this changed behavior, so there is a feeling that they eventually will come back to the old tradition.
Breadfruit can be used like potato: baked, boiled, fried, or roasted.
Take one whole bread fruit, peel it and cut out the 'heart' (the inedible part in the middle with seed). Cut the breadfruit into pieces. Now cook it in water with salt for 25 to 30 minutes and then serve it hot with a salsa or spicy sauce.
Fried breadfruit (similar to potato chips)
Peel the breadfruit, cut out the heart, cut in pieces (like french fries, but a bit bigger), and parboil in water. Take the pieces out of the water and let them dry. Pour oil in frying pan and heat. Fry pieces of breadfruit until they are a golden brown color on each side. Serve with mayonnaise or with a spicy sauce.