A tree of African breadnut
Other names: Wild jackfruit, African-boxwood
African breadfruit, as indicated by its name is a native of Africa. It grows all over the tropical Africa in counties like Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia upto an altitude of 1500 m.
It is fruit tree of riverine forests. This tree is usually found near streams or in swampy areas in forests
An evergreen tree 10-30 (max. 50) with a dense spreading crown and fluted trunk; bark grey, smooth and thick; when cut, exuding white latex which later turns rusty-red.
Leaves and fruits of African breadnut
Leaves simple, alternate, very large, about 30 (max. 50) x 14 (max. 20) cm, dark green, smooth above, tough, paler below with some hairs on the 10-18 pairs of clear veins; tip pointed; a short stalk to 1.5 cm; young leaves red or yellow.
Flower head brown-yellow, rounded, 2.5-10 cm across, male and female usually separate, growing beside leaves (axillary) or on older wood down the trunk.
Fruit compound, rounded, very large, on the trunk or main branches, containing many orange seeds, about 1 cm, buried in spongy pulp of the fruit; outer surface covered with rough pointed outgrowths, upto 40 cm in diameter, 8-14 kg.
Young fruits are cooked as a vegetable.
The seeds from mature fruits are extracted after macerating the fruit in water and then ground to a meal, known as breadfruit flour. This flour is used to produce a variety of baked foods.
A non-alcoholic beverage, almond milk, is prepared from powdered seeds, which is recommended as a breakfast drink in Nigeria.
A man with a fruit of African breadfruit
Dried seeds are fried or roasted and eaten as a snack. An edible oil can be extracted from them. The grains have an excellent polyvalent dietetic value; the biological value of its proteins exceeds even that of soybeans. The flour can be made into bread, pasta, table oil, margarine and baby food.
The fruit-head pulp and bran, which contain 9.4% and 5.7% protein, respectively, can be used in livestock feed.
Leaves are used for fodder in Tanzania.
The wood is used for timber, for making charcoal and also as fuel.
It is not very light demanding and will grow in a wide variety of soils and climatic conditions. It will thrive in most tropical and subtropical regions.
African breadnut seeds
Propagation is by seed. The seeds can even be planted in situ. It can also be propagated through budding, cuttings and shield grafting. Cuttings of this fruit also root easily. It is a fairly fast growing tree.
The budded trees come into bearing in 2-4 years. Seedlings take much longer. Under strict tropical climate, the trees keep bearing through out the year.