Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Literature for Artocarpus altilis
Ragone, 2006; Smith, 1981; Lorence & Wagner, 2020.
   Moraceae -- The Mulberry Family Bibliography
      Artocarpus altilis
General Information
DistributionBreadfruit is widely cultivated throughout the tropics. The wild, seeded form is probably indigenous in New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago.
Monoecious tree to 20 m tall (reaching 26 m or more where indigenous), trunk to 1 m in diameter, often becoming buttressed at the base, canopy dense and spreading; branchlets 5‒15 mm thick, grayish appressed-pubescent, all parts with profuse white sap.
Leaves clustered at ends of branchlets, petiolate; blade 30‒90 cm long, 20‒40 cm wide, usually pinnatifid from ½ blade width nearly to midrib, lobes 3‒4(5) on each side, separated by narrow to wide sinus, rarely irregularly dentate distally, subcoriaceous, glabrate adaxially or both surfaces pubescent with long, soft to short, stiff scabrid hairs, hairs usually denser on midrib and veins; petiole 2.5‒8 cm long, 3‒7 mm wide, pubescent or glabrate, often yellow when fresh; stipules 10‒27 cm long, scabrid pubescent with texture like sandpaper, or smooth and glabrate.
Inflorescences solitary, axillary. Staminate inflorescences at anthesis 7‒45 cm long, 1.5‒5 cm in diameter, cylindrical or sometimes oblong-ellipsoid, yellow becoming brown, peduncle 2‒3 cm long, 5‒6 mm wide, densely packed with thousands of flowers attached to a spongy core, each with 1 stamen surrounded by a papery perianth; pistillate inflorescences with 1,500‒2,000 pistillate flowers fused into an ellipsoid to subglobose or obovoid head 6‒10 cm long, 4‒6.5 cm in diameter, with a spongy core, surface with polygonal areoles formed by fused flowers, bumpy or with raised, conical-pointed stigmatic areas, peduncle 6‒9 cm long, stout, pubescent or glabrate.
Fruit broadly cylindrical to subglobose, usually 15‒30 cm long, 9‒20 cm in diameter, surface, slightly bumpy or spiny, with polygonal areoles 4‒8 mm in diameter, often finely puberulent, when ripe the skin is green to orange-brown and flesh is cream colored to pale yellow, soft and fragrant, seedless or with scattered seeds, peduncle 2.5‒12.5 cm long, stout.
Seeds ovoid, 2‒3 cm long, 1.7‒2.7 cm wide, testa smooth, shiny brown, venose with darker stripes.
Few-seeded and sterile seedless triploid cultivars are grown in many areas including the Marquesas Islands. A broad monograph by Ragone (1997) provides extensive information on the taxonomy, distribution, history, and uses of A. altilis.
David Lorence