Artocarpus altilis – Breadfruit
Other Common Names: ‘Ulu
Artocarpus altilis is a flowering tree that is commonly known as Breadfruit. It belongs to the Moraceae, or the mulberry and jackfruit family, and rapidly grows in the tropics. It is widely planted, especially in the Pacific islands, because its fruits are edible and it is considered as a staple and an important crop.
The Breadfruit tree can grow up to 26 meters or 85 feet. It can be distinguished through its big, thick leaves that cut deeply into pinnate lobes as well as the smooth and brown bark that has warty lenticels. When the bark is cut, it exudes a milky white latex, which can be used for caulking.
It is monoecious, which means that there are separate clusters of female and male flowers, growing on the same tree. It is the male flowers which emerge first and they are followed shortly by the females. Then, the female flowers grow into capitula, or flower head, which after three days, will be capable of pollination.
A single Breadfruit tree can produce up to 200 or even more fruits every season, that is why Breadfruits are considered to be one of the highest yielding fruit tree. The fruits can be cylindrical or spherical and are known for their rough skin. They can have yellow or green rind and pulp that can be creamy white or yellow in color.
When ripe, the fruits can be eaten raw, but oftentimes, the fruits are picked for cooking even when they are not ripe, as long as they are mature. They are rich in starch, and when they ripen, the starch content is transformed into sugar.
It is called a Breadfruit because the taste of a moderately ripe fruit is similar to the taste of freshly baked bread.