Artocarpus brasiliensis Gomez. Urticaceae. Jack.
Brazil. Professor Hartt says the jack is cultivated in the province of Bahia and to the north, at Sao Matheus and occasionally as far south as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The fruit is of immense size, being sometimes a foot and a half in the longer diameter. The seeds are largely used as food and the pulp is nutritious. In some parts, a kind of farina is prepared from the seeds, but this use is by no means general.
Artocarpus hirsuta Lam.
East Indies. The fruit is the size of a large orange. The pulpy substance is much relished by the natives, being almost as good as the fruit of the jack.
This most useful tree is nowhere found growing wild but is now extensively cultivated in warm regions. It is first described by the writer of Mendana's Voyage to the Marquesas Islands, 1595. It has been distributed from the Moluccas, by way of Celebes and New Guinea, throughout all the islands of the Pacific Ocean to Tahiti. Breadfruit is also naturalized in, the Isle of France, in tropical America and bears fruit in Ceylon and Burma. It is more especially an object of care and cultivation in the Marquesas and the Friendly and Society Islands. The tree was conveyed to the Isle of France from Luzon in the Philippines by Sonnerat. In 1792, from Tahiti and Timor, Capt. Bligh, who was commissioned by the British Government for this purpose, took a store of plants and in 1793 landed 333 breadfruit trees at St. Vincent and 347 at Port Royal, Jamaica. In the cultivated breadfruit, the seeds are almost always abortive, leaving their places empty which shows that its cultivation goes back to a remote antiquity. This seedlessness does not hold true, however, of all varieties, of which there are many. Chamisso describes a variety in the Mariana Islands with small fruit containing seeds which are frequently perfect. Sonnerat found in the Philippines a breadfruit, which he considered as wild, which bears ripe seeds of a considerable size. In Tahiti, there are eight varieties without seeds and one variety with seeds which is inferior to the others. Nine varieties are credited by Wilkes to the Fiji Islands and twenty to the Samoan. Captain Cook, at Tahiti, in 1769, describes the fruit as about the size and shape of a child's head, with the surface reticulated not much unlike a truffle, covered with a thin skin and having a core about as big as the handle of a small knife.
The eatable part of breadfruit lies between the skin and the core and is as white as snow and somewhat of the consistence of new bread. It must be roasted before it is eaten. Its taste is insipid, with a slight sweetness, somewhat resembling that of the crumb of wheaten bread mixed with a Jerusalem artichoke. Wilkes says the best varieties when baked or roasted are not unlike a good custard pudding. If the breadfruit is to be preserved, it is scraped from the rind and buried in a pit where it is allowed to ferment, when it subsides into a mass somewhat of the consistency of new cheese. These pits when opened emit a nauseous, fetid, sour odor, and the color of the contents is a greenish-yellow. In this state it is called mandraiuta, or native bread, of which several kinds are distinguished. It is said that it will keep several years and is cooked with cocoanut milk, in which state it forms an agreeable and nutritious food. This tree affords one of the most generous sources of nutriment that the world possesses. According to Poster, twenty-seven breadfruit trees, which would cover an English acre with their shade, are sufficient for the support of from ten to twelve people during the eight months of fruit-bearing. Breadfruit is called in Tahiti maiore, in Hawaii aeiore.
East Indies. On account of its excellent fruit, this tree is a special object of cultivation on the two Indian peninsulas, in Cochin China and southern China. It has only recently been introduced into the islands of the Pacific Ocean, as well as upon the island of Mauritius, the Antilles and the west coast of Africa. It is scarcely to be doubted that it occurs here and there growing wild and that perhaps Ceylon and the peninsula of Further India may be looked upon as its original native land. The jack seems to be the Indian fruit described by Pliny, who gives the name of the tree as pala, of the fruit, ariena; and to be the chagui of Friar Jordanus, about 1330, whose "fruit is of such size that one is enough for five persons." Firminger says the fruit of this tree is perhaps about one of the largest in existence and is an ill-shapen, unattractive-looking object. The interior is of a soft, fibrous consistency with the edible portions scattered here and there, of about the size and color of a small orange. It is considered delicious by those who can manage to eat it, but it possesses the rich, spicy scent and flavor of the melon to such a powerful degree as to be quite unbearable to persons of a weak stomach, or to those not accustomed to it. There are two varieties in India. Lunan says the thick, gelatinous covering which envelopes the seeds, eaten either raw or fried, is delicious. The round seeds, about half an inch in diameter, eaten roasted, have a very mealy and agreeable taste. The fruit, says Brandis, is an important article of food in Burma, southern India and Ceylon. The tree has a very strong and disagreeable smell.
Artocarpus lakoocha Roxb.
Malay and East Indies. The ill-shapen fruit, the size of an orange and of an austere taste, is sometimes eaten. Firminger says also that he has met with those who said they liked it, a fact which he could otherwise have hardly credited. Brandis says the male flower-heads are pickled.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.