Treculia africana

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Treculia africana
Treculia africana.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Treculia
Species: T. africana
Binomial name
Treculia africana

Treculia africana is a tree species in the genus Treculia which can be used as a food plant and for various other traditional uses. The fruits are hard and fibrous, can be the size of a volleyball and weight up to 8.5 kg (19 lb). Chimpanzees have been observed to use tools to break the fruits into small pieces that they can eat.[1] The fruits contain polyphenols.[2]

Description and origin[edit]

A Treculia africana tree

Treculia africana is a species of tree known in English as African breadfruit (Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, USA),[3][4][5][6] breadfruit (Nigeria),[7] wild jackfruit (Tanzania, Uganda),[4][5] and African boxwood (Malawi).[8] Many names are given to this species in the Igbo language in southern Nigeria, but the most common is ukwa.[7][9]

The geographical distribution of T. africana extends through West and Central Africa. The species can grow below 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) above sea level.[9]

Botanical characteristics[edit]

T. africana is a large tree in the family Moraceae. It grows in wet areas and forests. The species can grow up to a height of 30 m (98 ft). The girth of the stem can attain 6 m (20 ft). The bark is grey and discharges a cream latex. The leaves are large and dark green above and lighter below. Trees are dioecious (sexes on separate trees) or sometimes monoecious. Leaves occur in two ranks; stipules are amplexicaul (enclosing the bud). Inflorescences are unisexual, sometimes bisexual, or globose, and borne in the leaf axils or on the older wood and branches. Pistillate (female) flowers line the outer surface of a large receptacle (‘bread fruit’). The flowering period is from October until February. The fruit is big, round, and greenish yellow. The texture of the fruit is spongy when it is ripe, and it contains abundant seeds, which are the edible part of this fruit. Under good environmental conditions, the yield from one tree is 200 kg of dried seeds. Seeds are dicotyledonous[9]


Based on detailed field observations, three varieties are distinguished within the subspecies: T. a. var. africana (extending from Senegal to Southern Sudan and south to Angola, central Mozambique and Principe and Sao Tomé islands), T. a. var. inversa (Anambra State, Edo and Delta States, more abundant in the eastern states of Nigeria), and T. a. var. mollis (isolated localities in Edo and Delta states of Nigeria, Cameroun, Congo, Gabon, and Cabinda).

Their taxonomic differences are based mainly on the size of the fruit head (infructence) and the hairiness of branchlets and leaves. A striking variation exists in the number of fruit heads produced by trees belonging to T. a. var. africana (with large fruit heads) and T. a. var. inversa (with small fruit heads). The former is clearly superior in the weight of seeds produced, while the latter produces more fruit and also produces twice as many branches.

Key to the varieties of T. africana

1. Branchlets, petioles and undersurface of leaves soon glabrous, shining and glossy; leaves ovate-elliptic:
• Fruit head large, over 20 cm in diam.(Very large, being usually over 60 cm in longitudinal circumference), often smooth; seeds also large, rounded, sometimes elongated, about 1.3 cm long; mesocarp over 5 cm thick; slash pinkish (var. africana)
• Fruit heads small, usually less than 20 cm in diam., often knobbly or wrinkled; seeds small, elongated, sometimes more or less rounded, about 1 cm long or less; mesocarp less than 5 cm thick; slash brownish (var. inversa)
2. Branchlets, petioles and undersurface of leaves with persistent spreading hairs, dull, not glossy; leaves oblong-elliptic;
•Fruit heads small, usually less than 20 cm in diam., often knobbly or wrinkled; seeds, small, rounded to elongated, about 1 cm long; mesocarp less than 5 cm thick; slash pinkish (var. mollis)
  • Treculia africana[10]
Treculia africana subsp. africana Decne. ex Trec.[11]
Treculia africana subsp. madagascarica (N.E. Br.) C.C. Berg [12]
Treculia africana var. ilicifolia (Leandri) C.C. Berg [13]
Treculia africana var. inversa J.C. Okafor [14]
Treculia africana var. mollis (Engl.) Léonard [15]
Treculia africana var. sambiranensis (Leandri) C.C. Berg [16]



Culinary use[edit]

African breadfruit is an edible traditional fruit, consumed, for example in Nigeria, where it is eaten as a main dish. The seeds are of particular interest because of their high nutritional value. Fresh seeds contain 38.3% carbohydrate, 17.7% crude protein, and 15.9% fat. Readily available in many developing African countries, T. africana can be an alternative to rice and yam.[9] The seeds can be ground to flour, pressed for oil, or used as flavouring in alcoholic drinks. They can also be dry-roasted and eaten as a snack.

African breadfruit is a good adjunct in brewing because it is a source of fermentable sugars.

Wood products[edit]

The wood has many uses such as firewood, for furniture, and for home and other building construction. It can also be processed into paper.

Animal feed[edit]

In countries sich as Malawi and Tanzania, the fruit-head pulp and bran are used to feed monkeys and farm animals.

Environmental functions[edit]

This tree helps to control erosion and is a good natural source of mulch. However, deforestation, higher demand for cultivated agricultural areas, and the increasing population reduce numbers of this important forest tree in the African tropics.

The traditional farming system uses mixed cropping. For example, the complete burning of land has an erosion effect which can be minimized if these trees are present.[18]

Afforestation and reafforestation.[edit]

T. africana is used for reforestation projects in Africa. The Nutrecul Agroforestry Project, an authority in Treculia nursery, is taking the lead and has the most genetic variation of trees. The organization has the largest collection of in vitro tissue culture mother plants and also has its own cultivariety

Treculia africana subsp. africana cultivar. Nutreculia Nutrecul-TRC [17][19]


  1. ^ Walker, Matt (24 December 2009). "Chimps use cleavers and anvils as tools to chop food". BBC News. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
  2. ^ The effect of a single oral dose of polyphenols obtained from the outercoat of the fruit of Treculia africana in protein-deficient rats. R. O. Lawal, Food Chemistry, Volume 44, Issue 5, 1992, Pages 321-323, doi:10.1016/0308-8146(92)90262-Z
  3. ^ Bingham, M.G. et al; 2017; Flora of Zambia: Species information: Treculia africana subsp. africana var. africana;; accessed 2 November 2017
  4. ^ a b Katende, A. B. et al.; 1995; Useful Trees and Shrubs for Uganda : Identification, Propagation, and Management for Agricultural and Pastoral Communities, p.638; Regional Soil Conservation Unit; Nairobi; ISBN 9966896228
  5. ^ a b Mbuya, L. P. et al.; 1994; Useful trees and shrubs for Tanzania: Identification, Propagation and Management for Agricultural and Pastoral Communities, p.488; Regional Soil Conservation Unit, Swedish International Development Authority; Nairobi; ISBN 9966896163
  6. ^ "Treculia africana". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b Baerts, M. and J. Lehmann; Prelude Medicinal Plants Database: Treculia africana Decne.; Royal Museum for Central Africa; Tervuren;; accessed 2 November 2017
  8. ^ Williamson, Jessie; 1975; Useful Plants of Malaŵi (revised ed.), p.233; University of Malaŵi; Zomba
  9. ^ a b c d Nuga O.O, Ofodile E.A.U (2010) Potentials of Treculia africana Decne - an endangered species of Southern Nigeria. Journal of Agriculture and Social Research No.2
  10. ^ "Catalogue of Life :". Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  11. ^ "Catalogue of Life :". Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  12. ^ "Catalogue of Life :". Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  13. ^ "Catalogue of Life :". Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  14. ^ "Catalogue of Life :". Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  15. ^ "Catalogue of Life :". Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  16. ^ "Catalogue of Life :". Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  17. ^ a b Nutrecul Agroforestry - Treculia Research Center
  18. ^ "Ch17". Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  19. ^ "Nutrecul Agroforestry". Retrieved 2017-08-01.

External links[edit]