Believed to be native to the Malay region and carried into the
Pacific by colonizing Polynesians, this species has handsome
foliage, with ascending branches bearing deeply incised leaves up to
30 in (75 cm) long of a fresh green shade.
It is fast growing in younger stages, old trees are not much taller
but develop a rounded, bushy crown.
The flower spikes are inconspicuous, the female ones developing into
yellowish green, tough-skinned, globular fruit with starchy flesh
that is eaten after baking or boiling.
Cultivation: Edible-fruited species are cultivated in the wet
Propagation is from seed, or more commonly from root cuttings or
aerial layers (marcotts), which perpetuate desirable clones.
What was the strange Bounty's mission ? and what was the origine of
the mutiny ?
Slave holders in the West Indies found it difficult to feed their
slaves. Their came a suggestion of possible relief and that was
breadfruit, the inside of which could be a good substitute for
bread.They send a naval vessel out to Tahiti to take a thousand or
so young breadfruit plants to feed the West Indian slaves.
The Bounty small three masted ship, a large part was transformed
into a "floating green house", with a special gardener and assistant
in charge. One result of the scant space was that no room was
available for any marines, who had the duty of guarding the
officers. The command went to Lieutenant William Bligh .The Bounty
with a crew of 47 sailed from Portsmouth on December 23, 1787 on a
voyage to Taihiti where Captain Cook has found breadfruit plants.
After 10 months of extremely tiring sailing though Atlantic and
Pacific Ocean including a terrible storm on Cape Horn, new rooted to
Cape good hope, and several struggle between Master mate Fletcher
Christian and Captain Bligh who acted tyrannically with crew, the
Bounty reached Taihiti. There Captain Bligh found he would have to
wait 6 months before he could embark his cargo, so the crew enjoyed
a wonderful life ashore on the island where seamen met native women.
When the order was given to load up and embark there was little
enthusiasm and many problems. The breadfruit plants need great
quantity of water and captain decided to reduce crew's rations,
Bligh tyranny was increasing ....
On 18th April 1789, the notorious mutiny broke out on board, led by
Masters Mate Fletcher Christian and Midshipman Ned Young, Captain
Bligh and 18 loyal members of his crew were set adrift off Tonga
Islands in the ship's launch, with 150 pounds of biscuit, 20 pounds
of salt meat, 120 liters of water, the ship's log, a compass and
sextant. Against all odds with this crew, Captain Bligh reached the
Island of TIMOR after a voyage of 3,500 miles lasting 42 days. The
mutinous crew sailed to Tahiti where twentysix natives (nineteen
women, six men and one baby) were taken on board. The members of the
crew began to quarrel, so nine of them, afraid to be discovered and
jailed, sailed away, leaving the other ones in Tahiti. Once again
Christian was the leader. They wandered for over two months across
the south Pacific, looking for an uninhabited island far from every
known route. They routed to Cook Islands, Tonga, the eastern Fiji
Islands, without meeting any safe place to settle down. Before
losing hope, Christian remembered an old report by a Carteret,
mentioning the Island of Pitcairn. They immediately rooted toward
their "promised land" and reached it at the beginning of 1790,
exactly on January, 15th. They unloaded the ship's provisions and
then burned her. The descendants of Fletcher Christian and his
fellows live in Pitcairn today. The Mutineers who elected to stay at
Tahiti were sailed back to England and hanged.