Breadfruit - Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg
Breadfruit, Autocarpus altilis

Breadfruit from Julia Morton's book Fruits of Warm Climates

Breadfruit Nutritional Value & Versatility from Hawaii Homegrown Food Network & the Breadfruit Institute  pdf

Brief Breadfruit Basics from Hawaii Homegrown Food Network & the Breadfruit Institute pdf

Selected varieties from the Breadfruit Institute in Hawaii ext. link

Selecting and Cooking Breadfruit from the Breadfruit Institute in Hawaii  ext. link

The Breadfruit from W. Popenoe's book Manual of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits

The Breadfruit Collection from the USDA Tropical Plant Genetic Resources and Diseases Research








Fig. 1


Other Information

Common names: English Name: Breadfruit; French Name: L'abre a pan; Spanish Name: Arbol de pan; Hawai'i, Samoa, Rotuma, Tuvalu: 'Ulu; Society Islands: Uru; Cook Islands: Kuru; Fiji: Uto, Buco; Federate States of Micronesia, Kiribati Marshalls, Marquesas, Tonga, Tuvalu: Mei, Mai; Palau: Meduu; Kosrae: Mos; Papua New Guinea: Kapiak; Solomon Islands: Bia, Bulo, Nimbalu; Vanuatu: Beta; Philippines: Rimas; Indonesia: Sukun 2

Synonyms: Artocarpus communis, Artocarpus incisus

Relatives: Artocarpus camansi (breadnut), Artocarpus mariannensis (digdug of chebiei)

Family: Moraceae

Origin: The wild, seeded, ancestral form of breadfruit is Artocarpus camansi, or Breadnut. It is native to New Guinea, and possibly Indonesia and the Philippines. 2

Height: up to 85'
Plant habit: dense, spreading habit
Growth rate: fast
Trunk/bark/branches: clear trunk to 20' and 2-6' thick, often buttressed at the base; spreading branches; thick with lateral foliage or slender with foliage at tips 1
USDA hardiness zones: ultra tropical

Leaf: evergreen or deciduous based on conditions; ovate; 9-36" X 8-20"; deeply cut into lobes
Flower: male and female (monoecious); tiny flowers
Fruit: varies in shape and color; borne singly or in clusters at the tip of the branch
Season: fruits most of the year with fruit at different stages of developpement on the tree
USDA Nutrient Content pdf
Light requirement: sun
Soil tolerances: deep, fertile well-drained soil; great variation in the adaptability of different strains to climatic and soil conditions 1
PH preference: 6.1-7.4
Cold tolerance: the breadfruit is ultra-tropical and will not survive temperatures below 40F. It will not succeed outdoors anywhere in the continental United States except for sheltered locations in extreme South Florida and the Keys. 1
Plant spacing: 25'

Description: The breadfruit tree is handsome and fast growing, reaching 85 ft (26 m) in height, often with a clear trunk to 20 ft (6 m) becoming 2 to 6 ft (0.6-1.8 m) in width and often buttressed at the base, though some varieties may never exceed 1/4 or 1/2 of these dimensions. There are many spreading branches, some thick with lateral foliage-bearing branchlets, others long and slender with foliage clustered only at their tips. In the green stage, the fruit is hard and the interior is white, starchy and somewhat fibrous. When fully ripe, the fruit is somewhat soft, the interior is cream colored or yellow and pasty, also sweetly fragrant. The seeds are irregularly oval, rounded at one end, pointed at the other, about 3/4 in (2 cm) long, dull-brown with darker stripes. In the center of seedless fruits there is a cylindrical or oblong core, in some types covered with hairs bearing flat, brown, abortive seeds about 1/8 in (3 mm) long. The fruit is borne singly or in clusters of 2 or 3 at the branch tips. The fruit stalk (pedicel) varies from 1 to 5 in (2.5-12.5 cm) long. 1


Breadfruit Close up of Skin Breadfruit Close-up Breadfruit Flower
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fruit emerging Fruit starting Fruit on the tree Breadfruit


Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Leaf emerging Credit: Kwan © Leaf Credit: Kwan © Leaf Attachement Credit: Kwan ©
Fig. 10 Fig. 11 Fig. 12
Female Flower Male and Female Flowers Male Flower Emerging
Fig. 13 Fig. 14 Fig. 15


Flower: The tree is monoecious (male and female flowers  on the same tree) bears a multitude of tiny flowers, the male densely set on a

drooping (Fig. 15), cylindrical or club-shaped spike 5 to 12 in (12.5-30 cm) long and 1 to 1 1/2 in (2.5-3.75 cm) thick, yellowish at first

and becoming brown. The female (Fig. 13) are massed in a somewhat rounded or elliptic, green, prickly head, 2 1/2 in (6.35 cm) long

and 1 1/2 in (3.8 cm) across, which develops into the compound fruit (or syncarp), oblong, cylindrical, ovoid, rounded or pear

shaped, 3 1/2 to 18 in (9-45 cm) in length and 2 to 12 in (5-30 cm) in diameter. 1

The male inflorescence appears first. The male flowers are 5 cm in diameter and up to 45 centimeters long. Thousands of tiny flowers are attached to the spongy core. Female inflorescences consist of 1500-2000 reduced flowers also attached to a spongy core. The flowers fuse together and form the fleshy edible part of the fruit. 2

Leaf: The leaves, evergreen or deciduous depending on climatic conditions, on thick, yellow petioles to 1 1/2 in (3.8 cm) long, are ovate, 9 to 36 in (22.8-90 cm) long, 8 to 20 in (20-50 cm) wide, entire at the base, then more or less deeply cut into 5 to 11 pointed lobes. They are bright-green and glossy on the upper surface, with conspicuous yellow veins; dull, yellowish and coated with minute, stiff hairs on the underside. 1


Fruit and Flower Tree with fruit Breadfruit Tree Growth Habit Trunk
Fig. 16 Fig. 17 Fig. 18 Fig. 19 Fig. 20

Fruit: Immature fruit is bright green and has not reached full size. It is rubbery and watery even when cooked, lacking the rich flavor and

texture of mature fruit. An immature breadfruit will not mature or ripen after picking. Most people who eat immature breadfruit end up

not liking it. A ripe breadfruit is soft to the touch with a sweet aromatic fragrance. 3 More... from Hawaii Home Grown Food Network pdf

Breadfruit contains a small amount of white sap, which can stick to knives, pots and steamers. Cutting of the stem immediately after harvest and letting the fruit sit stem end down drains most of the sap. Sap issues can be reduced or eliminated by choosing mature fruit, proper handling, washing and refrigeration. In the kitchen, breadfruit should be soaked for 1–2 minutes in cold, clean water and washed to remove any sap or debris on the skin. 3

Maturity is indicated by the appearance of small drops of latex on the surface.

Propagation: Breadfruit is easy to propagate from root shoots or root cuttings, by air-layering branches, or from seeds. Breadfruit can also be grafted using various techniques. Stem cuttings are not used. Seeds are rarely grown because they do not develop true to type. Vegetative propagation is a must for seedless varieties, and root shoots or root cuttings are the preferred methods for both seeded

and seedless varieties.

New Breadfruit Trees from Stem Cuttings from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia

Further Reading

The Breadfruit Institute, National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii ext. link

Video on Traditional Cooking Method ext. link

How to Cook Breadfruit ext. link

The Breadfruit - The Tree that Caused a Mutiny from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia

Breadfruit from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia

A Guide to Artocarpus Fruits from the Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia

Breadfruit Production Guide  from Hawaii Homegrown Food Network & the Breadfruit Institute pdf 42 pages

Breadfruit Specialty Crop for Pacific Island Agroforestry pdf 19 pages


Check our List of Growers & Vendors



Diseases and Pests

Soft-scales and mealybugs are found on breadfruit trees in the West Indies and ants infest branches that die back after fruiting. In southern India, the fruits on the tree are subject to soft rot. This fungus disease can be controlled by two sprays of Bordeaux mixture, one month apart. Young breadfruit trees in Trinidad have been killed by a disease caused by Rosellinia sp. In the Pacific Islands

Fusarium sp. is believed to be the cause of die back, and Pythium sp. is suspected in cases of root rot. A mysterious malady, called "Pingalap disease", killed thousands of trees from 1957 to 1960 in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, the Caroline Islands, Marshalls and Mariannas. The foliage wilts and then the branch dies back. Sometimes the whole tree is affected and killed to the roots; occasionally

only half of a tree declines. The fungus, Phytophthora palmivora, attacks the fruit on the island of Truk. Phomopsis, Dothiorella and Phylospora cause stem-end rot. 1




1 Morton, J. "Breadfruit". Fruits of warm climates, p. 50–58. 1987.  Web. 23 Aug. 2014.

2 "Artocarpus altilis." National Tropical Botanical Garden. Web. 3 May 2015.

3 "Brief Breadfruit Basics." 2013. Web. 3 May. 2015.


Fig. 1,4,5,17 Carr, Gerald, D. Autocarpus altilis Moraceae. N.d. University of Hawaii, Botany Department, Manoa Campus Plants. Web. 23 Aug. 2014.

Fig. Artocarpus altilis. N.d. Top Tropicals Tropical Plant Catalog. Web. 23 Aug. 2014.

Fig. 3 Starr, Forest and Kim. Artocarpus altilis (breadfruit) fruit at Maui Nui Botanical Garden, Maui. 2004. Web. 23 Aug. 2014.

Fig. 6,7,13,14,15 Marlor, Alan. "Breadfruit Series." 2014. JPG File.
Fig. 8 Balakrishnan, N. Autocarpus altilis Moraceae. N.d. University of Hawaii, Botany Department, Manoa Campus Plants. Web. 23 Aug. 2014.

Fig. 9 Starr, Forest and Kim. Breadfruit - Artocarpus altilis . 2004. Web. 23 Aug. 2014.

Fig. 10,11,12,20 Kwan. Artocarpus altilis, Breadfruit. 2007. Web. 23 Aug. 2013.

Fig. 16 Starr, Forest and Kim. Artocarpus altilis (breadfruit) fruit and flower stalk at Waihee, Maui. 20011. Web. 23 Aug. 2014.

Fig. 19 Starr, Forest and Kim. Artocarpus altilis (breadfruit) habit at Kahanu Gardens NTBG Kaeleku Hana, Maui. 2009. Web. 23 Aug. 2014.

Published 23 Aug. 2014 LR. Updated 4 May 2015 LR

© 2013 -
about credits disclaimer sitemap updates