October 21, 2014
Our breadfruit tree is bearing fruit right now in our Bolz Conservatory!
Breadfruit has been an important tropical food plant throughout the Pacific for thousands of years. It was spread throughout Oceania by islanders who traveled by ocean-going canoe and settled the numerous islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Breadfruit was traditionally baked or roasted in the fire and has a starchy texture and fragrance that - to Europeans - was reminiscent of fresh bread.
Sir Joseph Banks, who sailed with Captain Cook on the HMS Endeavour on his first great voyage than included Tahiti (1778 - 1781) said “regarding food, if a man plant 10 breadfruit trees in his life he would completely fulfill his duty to his own as well as future generations....” True to his word, Banks promoted Captain Bligh’s ill-fated voyage on the HMS Bounty to transplant breadfruit from Tahiti to the Caribbean in 1787.
The Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden promotes the conservation and use of breadfruit for food and reforestation. The institute is taking a lead role in the conservation of breadfruit diversity and is conducting research documenting the traditional uses and cultural practices. Check out their website at http://ntbg.org/breadfruit/ to learn about the many varieties and uses for breadfruit and the important work the Institute carries out to respond to critical global food security issues in the tropics.
Our breadfruit tree can best be seen from the Orchid Aerie on the second level of the Bolz Conservatory.