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Breadfruit: Origins and Development

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Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology
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Basic Species Information


Breadfruit has been a major staple crop for millennia in the islands of Oceania, where hundreds of cultivars have been developed and named. The first accepted botanical description of breadfruit dates back to 1773 by Sydney Parkinson, one of the artists who accompanied Joseph Banks on the voyage of the Endeavour. Since then a proliferation of names for breadfruit and its close relatives have been published, leading to much confusion in the literature about the correct scientific name for and the delimitation of the domesticated breadfruit. Recent examination of both morphological and molecular characters of hundreds of samples of breadfruit from throughout Oceania as well as related species has lead to a better understanding (Zerega et al. 2005a). The domesticated breadfruit is Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg (the most commonly seen synonyms include A. communis (Forster) and A. incisa(Thun.) L.f.). Two closely related species that contributed...

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Further Reading

  • Jarrett, F.M. 1959. Studies in Artocarpus and allied genera, III. A revision of Artocarpus subgenus Artocarpus. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 40 (115–9): 307–323.

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  • Ragone, D. 1997. Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops series, volume 10: Breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg. Rome: International Plant Genetic Resources Institute.

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Correspondence to Nyree J. C. Zerega .

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Zerega, N.J.C. (2020). Breadfruit: Origins and Development. In: Smith, C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Springer, Cham.

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