Artocarpus africana Sim.
Ficus welwitschii Miq.
Ficus whytei Stapf
Treculia affona N.E.Br.
Treculia centralis A.Chev.
Treculia dewevrei De Wild. & T.Durand
Treculia erinacea A.Chev.
Common Name: African Breadfruit
Photograph by: Atamari
African breadfruit is a large, slow-growing, evergreen tree with a dense, spreading crown; usually growing 15 - 30 metres tall but with some specimens up to 50 metres[
]. The bole is fluted[
A very valuable food crop in Africa, providing a nutritious protein and oil rich food. It is often grown in and around African villages where it is commonly harvested for its edible seeds[
] and is sold in local markets[
]. Trees are often protected when land is cleared for agriculture[
The sap of the male tree is caustic and toxic, though the sap from female trees is used medicinally[
Tropical Africa - Senegal to southern Sudan, Uganda and Kenya, south to northern Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
Usually found near streams or in swampy areas in forests at an altitude up to 1,500 metres[
]. Riverine, mixed evergreen and swamp forests, woodlands, sea level to 1,300 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Semi-cultivated, Wild
Tolerant of a wide range of climatic conditions, it will thrive in most tropical and subtropical regions at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
]. It is found in areas where the mean annual rainfall is within the range 1,250 - 3,000mm, and the mean annual temperature ranges from 22 - 35°c[
Prefers a rich, deep, moisture-retentive soil and a position in partial shade or full sun[
]. It is not a very light demanding plant, and will grow in a wide variety of soils[
Plants start to fruit when about 4 years old[
Under favourable climatic conditions and in a good soil, 120 - 200 kilos of dried grains can be harvested in a year from each tree; this would translate to between 5 - 10 tonnes per hectare[
A fairly fast-growing tree.
There is a striking variation in the number of fruit heads produced by trees belonging to T. Africana var. africana (with large fruit heads) and T. Africana var. inversa (with small fruit heads). The former is clearly superior in the weight of seeds produced while the latter produces more fruit and also produces twice as many branches[
Seed - cooked[
]. A flavour similar to peanuts[
]. Eaten as dessert nuts after roasting or boiling, they are also ground into a meal, used in soups and to produce a variety of baked foods such as bread and paste[
]. The seeds are extracted after macerating the fruit in water[
]. The grains have an excellent polyvalent dietetic value - the biological value of its proteins exceeds even that of soybeans[
]. Numerous seeds about 8mm long are embedded in a massive fruit that can weigh up to 14 kilos[
A non-alcoholic beverage, almond milk, can be prepared from the powdered seeds, which is recommended as a breakfast drink in Nigeria[
An edible oil can be extracted from the seed[
In Ghana, a root decoction is used as an anthelmintic and febrifuge[
The caustic sap of male African breadfruit is applied on carious teeth[
A decoction of the bark is used in the treatment of cough and whooping cough[
]. The ground bark, mixed with oil and other plant parts, is used in the treatment of swellings[
]. It is also used in the treatment of leprosy and as a laxative[
The tree has been used in soil conservation programmes[
]. The leaf fall is a good source of mulch[
]. It has also been recommended as a promising species for use in home gardens, and for intercropping systems in agroforestry[
The heartwood is yellow with very narrow pale sapwood; very dense, fairly elastic and flexible, rather heavy, with fine, even structure. It is suitable for furniture, carving, turnery and inlay wood[
]. It is suitable for pulp and papermaking[
The wood is used for fuel and making charcoal[
Propagation is by seedlings, which are sown in pots, and direct spot sowing at site. Pre-treatment of seeds is not necessary. It is also propagated through budding, cuttings and shield grafting. Using adult scions, budded trees have produced fruits with viable seeds within 2-4 years. With juvenile cuttings, one can obtain 69% rooting. Where climatic conditions are favourable, fruit collection is possible throughout the year
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