Update, 18 Aug. 2011: Someone from the Breadfruit Institute kindly left a comment below, suggesting that this tree might possibly be a breadnut rather than a breadfruit tree. I’ll update this post further as the fruit matures, but for now we should leave the identification open. I’ll call it an Artocarpus sp. until the species name is verified.
Update, 16 Nov. 2012: Alert reader Diane (see comments below) also agrees that this fruit is a breadnut rather than a breadfruit. Further, she knows how to cook it and eat it. With both botanists and interested naturalists agreeing that this is a breadnut, it is time to call it by its correct name. I’ll not rename the post, but we can agree now that the fruit shown is a breadnut, Artocarpus camansi.
Our breadfruit tree is now five years old. I first saw this flower, inflorescence actually, two weeks ago. It is a female. The pale, yellowish structure to the right of the inflorescence is a stipule pair. The stipules will eventually fall off, leaving a scar – a horizontal line between leaves – that is typical of the family. In breadfruits this scar encircles the stem.
There may be 1500 or so tiny flowers in the female inflorescence. Zooming in, you can see the pistils pretty clearly and if you look at the outline against the green leaf, you can see some of the branched stigmas (the part that receives the pollen).
You can also see a few white drops of latex exuding from some of the pistils. This latex, like the stipule scar, is a characteristic of the Moraceae family, which includes the rubber plant, figs, mulberries, and the osage orange.
The pistils are attached to a spongy core and will eventually fuse together, forming the fruit, which is an aggregate like pineapple. Breadfruits are not native to Panama but are cultivated now throughout the tropics, despite the famous Mutiny on the Bounty.
- Taking Breadfruit From the Lab in to the Field (timbuktuchronicles.blogspot.com)