Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson ex F.A.Zorn) Fosberg

Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum/Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Eudicots
Order:Rosales
Family:Moraceae
Genus:Artocarpus
Species:A. altilis
Common Names:Breadfruit
Status:Casual

Description

A sparsely branched tree of about 30 m high, all parts have a white latex that oozes out when damaged. Leaves are simple, large, 20-60 x 20-40 cm, alternately arranged and deeply lobed. The apical buds are covered by a simple stipule 10-20 cm long that drops off when the buds develop. Flowers are unisexual, small and crowded in heads. Male heads are club-shaped, 15-25 x 3-4 cm, female heads are globose to cylindrical, 8-10 x 5-7 cm and both are found on the same tree. Fruits are large, 10-30 cm in diameter, oblong and prickly or smooth. In most cultivated trees the fruits are seedless.

Read more about the Rosales order.
Read more about the Moraceae family.

Distribution

Native to the Pacific and tropical Asia, it was domesticated in the Malay Archipelago from where it spread to the Pacific Islands. It is now grown throughout the tropics.

Human Uses

The fruits are a staple for the Polynesians. The ripe as well as the unripe fruits are eaten boiled, baked, roasted, stewed or fried. Seeds of the wild trees are also eaten, usually roasted. The white latex is used to chalk canoes, used in chewing gum or used to trap birds.

References

Chong, K. Y., H. T. W. Tan & R. T. Corlett, 2009. A Checklist of the Total Vascular Plant Flora of Singapore: Native, Naturalised and Cultivated Species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 273 pp.

Wee, Y. C. 1990. A guide to the wayside trees of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. (2nd ed.) 160 pp.

Wee, Y. C. 2003. Tropical trees and shrubs - A selection for urban plantings. Sun Tree Pub., Singapore. 392pp.

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