Breadfruit, the product of the breadfruit tree (artocarpus incisa), which belongs, like the yack (A. integrifolia), to the order urti-cacece, distinguished in the sub-order to which artocarpus belongs by flowers combined in fleshy heads, stems with milky juice, which is often acrid, sometimes nutritious. The breadfruit is a native of the Pacific islands, where it grows to the height of 40 feet or more, and from the size of its deeply incised leaves, more than a foot long and 10 inches wide, forms a very ornamental tree. The wood is much used, and the juice furnishes a sticky birdlime, but the fruit is the most valuable part. The flowers are unisexual, and the cluster of female flowers becomes a green globular fruit, half a foot or more in diameter. The seeds are roasted and much resemble chestnuts; but the varieties most prized do not bear seed; the ovaries become thickened, and when nearly ripe the receptacle is gathered and baked, by preference in ovens in the ground. The crust is removed to the depth of half an inch, and the farinaceous pulp eaten fresh, when it much resembles bread made with eggs, and of close texture; or it is mashed and packed in bundles which are buried in the earth for future consumption.
A slight fermentation takes place and then ceases, and the pasty mass will keep several months. If suffered to remain on the tree until fully ripe, the fruit becomes sweet and resembles clammy cake rather than bread, with an unpleasant odor. Where seeds are not produced the tree is propagated by suckers or cuttings. Mixed with cocoanut milk, the pulp makes an excellent pudding. The fibre pf the bark is used for tapa, or bark cloth, being strong as in most of the nettle family. - The yack differs from the breadfruit in having a smaller, entire, glabrous leaf, and attains a greater height, while the branches are not so spreading. The fruit is longer than the breadfruit and two or three times as large, and springs from the trunk of the tree, as the branches would be unable to bear so great weight. The seeds are enclosed in a sac of juicy yellow pulp, which has a strong stench of decomposing animal matter. When the repugnance to the smell is overcome, the pulp becomes a favorite edible. The yack is much cultivated in India.
Breadfruit - Leaves, Flower, and Nut.