Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

breadfruit the large fruit of a tall tree, Artocarpus altilis, native to the Pacific islands. When Europeans began to explore the Pacific the breadfruit was already being grown throughout the region, though still a newcomer in some islands. It belongs to the same genus, in the mulberry family Moraceae, as the jackfruit.

The fruit is round and can grow as large as a man’s head. It has a structure like that of the pineapple, and its skin is similarly marked with a hexagonal pattern of fissures. The fruits are either seedless or seeded. Most of the cultivated varieties (there are over 200 named cultivars) are seedless. The name ‘breadnut’ is sometimes, unsuitably, used for the seeded fruits.