The bread tree

Bread and Butter Trees

Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons, via CC

You must be laughing out loud thinking that there is an error. How can bread and butter grow on trees? Freshly baked bread comes out from a bakery, while the butter is churned out in factories. So what is it that we are referring to? Are there really any trees which have bread and butter hanging like fruits? Imagine that, so fun! Let us talk about some unusual trees.

In reality, we are talking about a bread tree. An unusual tree that produces a fleshy fruit that is rich in starch, a lot like bread. The scientific name for this tree is Artocarpus altilis. It is found mostly in Southeast Asia and most Pacific Ocean islands. The fruit of this tree has a starchy flavor very similar to freshly baked bread. Long ago, people who started planting this tree after giving up rice cultivation were from Taiwan. This tree grows up to 85 ft tall. It looks very similar to Jack fruit.

Shea nuts
Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons, via CC

The Butter tree provides Shea butter. This ivory colored butter is taken out from the nut of an African tree. Most of the times it is used as moisturizers and body cream, in Africa it is eaten. How is it made? At first the nuts are cracked out of the outer shell. After being crushed, the nuts are roasted and ground. The paste is then kneaded to separate the butter oil curds and excess water. The butter oils are heated to form creamy off white butter. There is a similar tree in India that produces butter or mowrah.

What goes very well with bread and butter? How about a glass of milk? There is a Venezuelan tree called the milk tree producing  sweet tasting milk very similar to the ordinary milk. It can be obtained by tapping the trunk. If human had first found this tree we would be drinking from the trunks;)

Image Credit: Flickr User Max Handlesman, via CC

Ever thought that you could eat sausage by plucking it off from a tree. There is a sausage tree or Kigella aethiopica in Uganda that bears a sausage like fruit. It is half meter long and weighs up to six kilos.

Dragon blood tree
Image Credit: Flickr User Rod Waddington,via CC

Next is the dragon blood tree of Socotra island. The strange looking umbrella shaped plant is leaks red sap when cut. This red sap looks like blood. It  was thought to be the dragon’s blood of the ancients, very useful  as a dye. It is still used in paints and varnishes.

Isn’t nature so wild and full of wonders? If you know about more unusual trees, please share with us.

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One response to “Bread and Butter Trees”

  1. Arusha Avatar

    I didn’t know about such interesting trees!really that’s cool!
    Who could guess that things replicating butter,bread etc.can be found on TREES ?thanks a lot for sharing this information on Kinooze !

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