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Artocarpus altilis - (Parkinson) Fosberg.

Common Name Breadfruit
Family Moraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Lowland humid tropics
Range E. Asia - Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, western Pacific..
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Artocarpus altilis Breadfruit

Artocarpus altilis Breadfruit


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Breadfruit or Artocarpus altilis is a tropical evergreen tree that grows up to 20-26m tall. It has a wide crown and a straight, cylindrical bole that can be 1.8 m in diameter. The flowers are toasted and used as relief from tooth ache. Flower extracts are used to treat ear oedema. Latex, on the other hand, has many medicinal functions such as treatment of broken bones, bruises, sprains, etc., as relief from sciatica, or as treatment for puncture wounds in the eyes, skin illnesses, and fungal diseases. Ear infections can also be treated using latex and the juice from breadfruit?s crushed leaves. The crushed leaves are also used for treating fungal diseases. Further, tea can be made from the yellowing leaf. It reduces high blood pressure and controls diabetes. Breadfruit's different plant parts can also be used as treatment for liver diseases, fever, respiratory problems, headache, chest pains, vomiting, bone pains, maternal postpartum infections, stomach aches, and digestive tract problems. Breadfruit is a great food plant since it can be cooked or eaten during all stages of its development. It is a great source of protein, iron, calcium, potassium, and riboflavin. Other Names: Baleo, Beta, Bia, Bulo, Dhel, Frtua-pao, Kamansi, Kapiak, Kekene, Kelewih, Kelor, Kelur, Khanun-sampalor, Khnaor samloo, Kula, Kulor, Kulu, Kulu kisa, Kulur, Kuru, Lemae, Lemai, Leme, Mai, Me, Meduu, Mei, Mian bao guo, Mian-boo-kuo, Mshelisheli, Nimbalu, Pakak, Pan-no-ki, Pan-no-mi, Pitiu nere, Rauai, Rimas, Sa-ke, Saa-keh, Saake, Sake, Sakee, Seema panasa, Seema pila, Sou, Sukun, Te mai, Thou, Timbul, Ulu, Uru, Uto, Uto sori, Vilayati phanas, Xa ke.

Physical Characteristics

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Artocarpus altilis is an evergreen Tree growing to 18 m (59ft) by 18 m (59ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Bees. The plant is not self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Artocarpus communis J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. Artocarpus incisifolius Stokes Artocarpus incisus (Thunb.)

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Fruit  Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses: Gum

Edible portion: Fruit, Seeds, Leaves, Flowers, Vegetable. Breadfruit is a versatile food that can be cooked and eaten at all stages of its development[ 303 ]. The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. The unripe fruit, as small as 2 - 6cm in diameter, is eaten as a starchy vegetable with a flavour similar to that of artichoke hearts[ 303 ]. It can be prepared in various ways including boiling, baking, added to soups, pickling etc[ 301 , 303 ]. Ripe fruits are somewhat sweet and are occasionally eaten raw, but are more often cooked as a starchy vegetable or fermented into a cheese-like food[ 301 ]. The mature fruit can be dried and ground into a flour[ 301 ]. The mature fruit is about 20cm long[ 307 ]. Compared with other staple starch crops, breadfruit is a better source of protein than is cassava; it is comparable to sweet potato and banana[ 303 ]. It is a relatively good source of iron, calcium, potassium and riboflavin[ 303 ]. Seed - cooked. Firm and close-textured, they are very nutritious, with a flavour somewhat reminiscent of chestnuts[ 301 , 303 ]. They can be cooked with the raw breadfruit or removed and boiled or roasted[ 301 , 303 ]. They are usually peeled before being eaten[ 301 ]. Both fresh and cooked seeds contain about 8% protein[ 303 ]. The seeds are low in fat compared with tree nuts such as almond, brazil nut and macadamia nut, which contain 50 - 70% fat[ 303 ]. The seeds are a good source of minerals and contain more niacin than cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, pecans, black walnuts or chestnuts[ 303 ]. Male inflorescence - cooked and used as a vegetable or used in the preparation of a sweetmeat[ 301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anticonvulsant  Antifungal  Antispasmodic  Astringent  Cancer  Digestive  Dysentery  Purgative  

Breadfruit has a very wide range of applications in traditional medicine with all parts of the plant being utilised in the treatment of a range of conditions[ 311 ]. Research has shown the presence of a number of active compounds in the plant:- The fruit contains artocarpine and the enzyme papayotine[ 348 ]. The leaf contains the phenols quercetin and camphorol, plus gamma-aminobutyric acid, which lowers the blood pressure[ 348 ]. The stem-bark and fruit contain cyclopropane sterols[ 348 ]. The toasted flowers are rubbed on the gums around aching teeth to ease pain[ 303 ]. An extract from the flowers is effective in treating ear oedema[ 303 ]. Latex is massaged into the skin to treat broken bones, bruises, sprains, abscesses etc, and is bandaged on the spine to relieve sciatica[ 303 , 348 ]. It is commonly used to treat puncture wounds in the eyes[ 311 ], skin ailments and fungal diseases such as thrush[ 303 , 311 ]. The latter is also treated with crushed leaves[ 303 ]. Diluted latex is taken internally to treat diarrhoea, stomach-ache and dysentery[ 303 ]. Latex and juice from the crushed leaves are both traditionally used to treat ear infections[ 303 ]. A filtrate of new, unfolded leaves is employed as a remedy for fish poisoning and as a muscle relaxant in cases of convulsive spasms[ 311 ]. The yellowing leaf is brewed into a tea and taken to reduce high blood pressure[ 303 , 348 ]. The tea is also thought to control diabetes[ 303 ]. Hypertension and diabetes medications are prepared from a mixture of the boiled leaves of this species combined with Persea americana, Carica papaya and Annona muricata[ 348 ]. The leaves are used in Taiwan to treat liver diseases and fevers[ 303 ]. The root is an astringent and is used as a purgative[ 303 ]. Pressed fluid of the root is used in the treatment of respiratory ailments which include difficult, painful breathing[ 311 ]. When macerated it is used as a poultice for skin ailments[ 303 ]. The bark is used to treat headache. Bark extracts exhibited strong cytotoxic activities against leukaemia cells in tissue culture, and extracts from roots and stem barks showed some antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria and may have potential in treating tumours[ 303 ]. Liquid squeezed from the bark or leaves is given to remedy chest pains and vomiting resulting from heart trouble[ 311 ]. Pressed liquid from the stem bark is employed in the treatment of pain in the bones and maternal postpartum infections[ 311 ]. The bark is also used to treat stomach aches and digestive tract problems[ 311 ]. Fluid pressed from young fruit is given to treat an illness which causes pain in the lungs and vomiting of blood[ 311 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Adhesive  Bedding  Containers  Dye  Fibre  Fodder  Fuel  Gum  Insecticide  Shelterbelt  String  Waterproofing  Weaving  Wood

Other uses rating: High (4/5). Seaside; shade tree, backyard tree, specimen. Agroforestry Uses: The breadfruit is an important component of traditional agroforestry systems in the Pacific Islands[ 303 ]. The trees are integrated into mixed cropping systems with yams and other root crops, Piper methysticum, bananas and some cash crops, especially black pepper and coffee[ 303 ]. The tree is sometimes used as a wind-break or shade tree for coffee plantations[ 320 ]. Other Uses The male flower spikes are blended with fibre of paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) to make elegant loincloths[ 303 ]. The inner layer of bark, or bast, was used to make bark cloth (tapa)[ 303 , 454 ]. Traditionally it had ceremonial and ritual uses, was also used for beddings and items of clothing such as cloaks, loincloths and robes[ 303 ]. Breadfruit bast makes good cordage with a diverse range of uses such as harnesses for water buffalo and nets for catching sharks[ 303 ]. The sticky, milky sap is a gum that is used to caulk canoes to make them watertight and can be used as an adhesive to seal and prepare wooden surfaces for painting[ 303 , 307 ]. A sticky latex is present in all parts of the tree and has many uses. It is used as a chewing gum in the Caribbean and elsewhere. Can be used as an adhesive for bark cloth and for caulking canoes[ 303 , 339 ]. The latex can be mixed with coconut oil for trapping houseflies[ 303 ]. The inflorescence has been used to make a yellow tan to brown dye[ 303 ]. The fat extracted from the seed is a light yellow liquid, viscous at room temperature, with a characteristic odour similar to that of peanuts. It has a chemical number and physical properties similar to those of olive oil[ 303 ]. The dried, hard flowers can be burned as a mosquito repellent[ 303 , 339 ]. The leaves are widely used as plates and also to wrap food for cooking and serving[ 303 , 339 ]. The dried stipules or senescent leaves are slightly rough, and in Hawaii they were used to polish and smooth bowls and nuts strung for decorative purposes[ 303 ]. The heartwood is golden speckled with orange, differentiated from the yellow or brownish-yellow sapwood. The golden yellow colour darkens with age. The wood is very light, durable, soft, but quite resistant in spite of its low specific gravity[ 303 ]. Traditionally it was widely used for the construction of houses and canoes because of its resistance to termites and marine worms. The wood is also used to make bowls, carvings, furniture and even surfboards[ 303 ]. The trees are an important source of firewood in some areas[ 303 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Agroforestry Services: Windbreak  Fodder: Fruit  Industrial Crop: Fiber  Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Management: Standard  Minor Global Crop  Other Systems: Homegarden  Other Systems: Multistrata  Staple Crop: Basic Starch

A plant of the humid tropics, growing best in lowland areas below 650 metres, though also succeeding at elevations up to 1,550 metres[ 303 ]. It prefers a mean annual temperature in the range of 21 - 32°c, tolerating it as low as 12°c and as high as 40°c[ 200 , 303 ]. Plants can be injured if temperatures drop below 5°c[ 335 ]. Rainfall should be in the range1,500 - 2,500mm, exceptionally to 3,000mm[ 303 ]. It prefers rainfall of fairly equal distribution but is quite tolerant of short dry periods[ 303 ]. Prefers a deep, fertile, well-drained soil[ 200 , 307 ]. Tolerant of a variety of soils so long as they are well drained[ 335 ]. Young plants need some shade, but require increasing light levels as they mature[ 200 ]. Trees usually produce two crops per year[ 335 ]. Plants begin to crop when about 3 - 6 years old, eventually producing up to 700 fruits per tree annually[ 200 ]. There are two main forms of the breadfruit, one with seeds and another that is seedless[ 307 ]. The seedless form is the most common[ 307 ]. There are some named varieties of each form[ 200 , 301 ]. Complete fertilizer in spring, deep organic mulch.

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Plants providing crop shade especially trees.
  • Agroforestry Services: Windbreak  Linear plantings of trees and shrubs designed to enhance crop production, protect people and livestock and benefit soil and water conservation.
  • Fodder: Fruit  Fodder from fruiting plants especially trees.
  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Industrial Crop: Hydrocarbon  Materials, chemicals and energy include bioplastics, rubber, biomass products gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, butane, propane, biogas. Plants are usually resprouting plants and saps.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Minor Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world, but on a smaller scale than the global perennial staple and industrial crops, The annual value of a minor global crop is under $1 billion US. Examples include shea, carob, Brazil nuts and fibers such as ramie and sisal.
  • Other Systems: Homegarden  Tropical multistrata agroforestry (multi-story combinations of trees, crops, domestic animals in the homestead).
  • Other Systems: Multistrata  Multistrata agroforests feature multiple layers of trees often with herbaceous perennials, annual crops, and livestock.
  • Staple Crop: Basic Starch  The Carbon Farming Solution. Eric Toensmeier.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best extracted from ripe fruits and sown immediately as they lose viability within a few weeks[ 200 , 303 ]. They are planted about 5 cm apart and 1 cm deep[ 303 ]. The seed germinates best at a temperature of 24 - 27c[ 200 ]. Some 85% germinate about 2 weeks after sowing[ 303 ]. The germination bed should be kept moist. Seedlings can be transplanted into individual containers as soon as they sprout[ 303 ]. They grow quickly and are ready for planting in the field when they are about 1 year old[ 303 ]. Root cuttings. These are best collected during the dormant season immediately preceding the renewal of growth, or at the beginning of that period, when carbohydrate stores in roots are highest[ 303 ]. The dormant period (2-3 months) begins immediately after the crop ripens[ 303 ]. Cuttings of roots 1.5 cm to 4 cm across and 25 cm long are suitable. Cuttings can be rooted during the wet season, in sand. They should be placed horizontally. They need to be kept moist and shaded. Using intermittent mist improves root formation and cutting establishment. Rooting hormones also assists. This process takes 10 weeks or more and then rooted cuttings should be hardened off in a sunny position for up to 3 more months before planting out into the field. Young plants do best with adequate sun and not shade. Root suckers produced naturally, or by damaging the roots, are a common method of production of new material. Marcottage or budding can also be used for propagation. Air layering.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Breadfruit or Artocarpus altilis. Other Names: Baleo, Beta, Bia, Bulo, Dhel, Frtua-pao, Kamansi, Kapiak, Kekene, Kelewih, Kelor, Kelur, Khanun-sampalor, Khnaor samloo, Kula, Kulor, Kulu, Kulu kisa, Kulur, Kuru, Lemae, Lemai, Leme, Mai, Me, Meduu, Mei, Mian bao guo, Mian-boo-kuo, Mshelisheli, Nimbalu, Pakak, Pan-no-ki, Pan-no-mi, Pitiu nere, Rauai, Rimas, Sa-ke, Saa-keh, Saake, Sake, Sakee, Seema panasa, Seema pila, Sou, Sukun, Te mai, Thou, Timbul, Ulu, Uru, Uto, Uto sori, Vilayati phanas, Xa ke.

Found In: Africa, Andamans, Antigua and Barbuda, Asia, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central Africa, Central America, China, Colombia, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Africa, East Timor, Ecuador, Fiji, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guinea, Guin?e, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Marianas, Marquesas, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius, Mexico, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North America, Nuie, Pacific, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea*, PNG, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Samoa, SE Asia, Seychelles, Singapore, Society Islands, Solomon Islands, South America.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Artocarpus camansiBreadnut, KamansiTree15.0 10-12 FLMHNM413
Artocarpus heterophyllusJackfruitTree15.0 10-12 FLMHSNM523
Artocarpus integerChampedakTree20.0 11-12 SLMHNM403
Artocarpus mariannensisSeeded breadfruit, Marianas breadTree15.0 10-12 FLMSNM434
Artocarpus odoratissimusMarang, TerapTree25.0 10-12 MLMHNM400

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Parkinson) Fosberg.

Botanical References

Links / References

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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