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Brosimum guianense - (Aubl.) Huber

Common Name Bastard Breadnut
Family Moraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Forests that are not subject to inundation at elevations from sea level to 1,000 metres[ 420 ]. It is most commonly found in secondary forests, and sometimes in very dry or very humid terrains[ 420 ].
Range S. America - Brazil, Bolivia and Peru, north through Central America to Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Brosimum guianense Bastard Breadnut

Brosimum guianense Bastard Breadnut
Flickr - Alex Popovkin


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Found in South America, Bastard breadnut or Brosimum guianense is a large, deciduous tree up to 40 m tall with trunk diameter of up to 70 cm. It has a straight, cylindrical bole and a dense, elongate crown. It is used medicinally as treatment for asthma and cold, as an analgesic (softened bark), and anthelmintic, bitter, and caustic (latex). The bark is a source of white latex that is thick and sticky. Bastard breadnut is widely exploited in the wild for its highly valued timber. The wood is extremely hard and heavy, strong, durable, and resistant to termites. The fruit pulp of this tree is consumed raw.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Brosimum guianense is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Alicastrum guianense (Aubl.) Kuntze Brosimum aubletii Poepp. & Endl. Brosimum discolor Schott Brosim

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Edible portion: Fruit. The fruit pulp is eaten raw.

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.
Analgesic  Anthelmintic  Antiasthmatic  Bitter

The macerated bark is warmed and used as an analgesic[ 348 ]. The latex is anthelmintic, bitter and caustic[ 348 ]. It is mixed with dairy milk and then drunk as a remedy for internal ulcers. It is drunk as a treatment for asthma and colds[ 348 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Furniture  Latex  Wood

Other uses rating: Very High (5/5). Other Uses: A thick, sticky, white latex is obtained from the bark[ 378 ]. The plant is exploited from the wild for its wood, which is highly sought after for specialist uses. It is one of the most expensive of woods, often sold by weight[46]. The tree is slow in forming heartwood, which is the only part used commercially. A tree of 35cm diameter may, on occasions, have only 2 - 10cm of heartwood, while a 50cm tree will ordinarily have not more than 18cm. The amount of heartwood is reported to vary according to location. Certain areas produce timber with considerable heartwood, while in other areas even large trees may not be worth felling[ 378 ] The heartwood is dark red to reddish-brown or brown, with black markings that resemble letters or hieroglyphs - the distinctiveness of these markings is reduced as the colour of the backgrounds is darkened by exposure; it is not clearly demarcated from the light, yellow to nearly white sapwood[ 46 , 378 ]. The texture is medium; the grain is straight; lustre medium; there is no distinctive odour or taste. The wood is extremely hard, extremely heavy, strong, very durable, resistant to dry wood termites[ 378 ]. Because of its hardness, the wood is worked with considerable difficulty, being difficult to cut and taking nails poorly, however, it finishes smoothly and takes a beautiful polish[ 46 , 378 , 420 ]. Because of the limited supply, small size, and high cost, the wood is best suited for speciality items that capitalize on its unusual beauty, hardness, and density. It is therefore mainly used for purposes such as inlay work, furniture, drum sticks, umbrella handles, fishing rods, fancy articles, violin bows, cabinetwork etc[ 46 , 378 , 420 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the lowland tropics, where it is found in dry to very humid regions[ 420 ]. Succeeds in a sunny to semi-shaded position. Plants are at least somewhat drought resistant[ 420 ]. Young plants normally establish well and grow away quickly[ 420 ]. Plants flower and fruit throughout the year. A monoecious species, but male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed is required.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in individual pots or a nursery bed in a sunny position[ 420 ]. Germination rates are usually above 50%, with sprouting occurring in a few weeks[ 420 ]. Plants grow away quickly. Root cuttings[ 420 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Bastard breadnut or Brosimum guianense

Found In: Amazon, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Central America, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, North America, Panama, Peru, South America, Suriname, Venezuela. Other Names: Breadnut, Bere, Azulillo, Mariabe, Granadillo.

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
Brosimum alicastrumBreadnut. Maya nutTree30.0 10-12 MLMHSNM323
Brosimum parinarioidesLeite de amapa, BrosimumTree32.0 10-12 MLMHNM323
Brosimum rubescensBloodwood CaciqueTree30.0 10-12 MLMHFSM024
Brosimum utileCow Tree, Palo De VacaTree25.0 10-12 MLMHNM323

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


(Aubl.) Huber

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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