Regeneration guidelines for breadfruit

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The information on this page was extracted from:
Ragone D. 2008. Regeneration guidelines: breadfruit. In: Dulloo M.E., Thormann I., Jorge M.A. and Hanson J., editors. Crop specific regeneration guidelines [CD-ROM]. CGIAR System- wide Genetic Resource Programme, Rome, Italy. 7 pp.

Before reading the regeneration details for this crop, read the general introduction that gives general guidelines to follow by clicking here.


Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg) is a long-lived, tropical, evergreen tree primarily grown for its starchy carbohydrate fruit. Breadfruit has been cultivated in the Pacific Islands for nearly three millennia and was domesticated from A. camansi Blanco (breadnut) in New Guinea and nearby islands. A few seedless breadfruit Polynesian cultivars were distributed to the Caribbean, along with breadnut, in the late 1700s and are now widely distributed in the tropics. In most regions of the world breadfruit varieties are seedless triploid forms (2n=84). In some parts of the Pacific, diploid (2n=56) varieties are also found, some of which produce fertile seeds while others are less fertile (Ragone 2001; Zerega et al. 2004). Low fertility in diploids probably resulted from continuous vegetative propagation accumulating genetic abnormalities (somatic mutations). Breadfruit is outcrossing but produces seedless fruit parthenocarpically if there is no fertilization. This crop is maintained ex situ as clonal trees in field genebanks. Trees can live 80 years or more.

An abundance of breadfruit on a Polynesian variety in the breadfruit collection at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii. (photo: Jim Wiseman)

Choice of environment and planting season

Limits of adaptation

Breadfruit is adapted to a wide range of ecological conditions.

Planting season

Plant at the onset of the rainy season and irrigate as needed during the first 1–3 months of establishment.

Preparation for regeneration

Breadfruit is clonally propagated using root shoots or root cuttings. Vegetative propagation is required for seedless varieties and preferred for seeded varieties. Seeds are rarely used because seedlings are not true to type.

When to regenerate

Selection of planting material

Surface roots and root sucker used for vegetative propagation of breadfruit. Large arrows indicate where the sucker should be severed. Small arrows point to a suitable, healthy, well-formed root. (photo: Diane Ragone)

Preparation of root shoots

Preparation of root cuttings

Raising root shoots / root cuttings

Root suckers and root cuttings in potting media in shadehouse, developing new buds and shoots. (photo: Diane Ragone)

Healthy new feeder roots developing on an excised root cutting. (photo: Jim Wiseman)

Field selection and preparation

Method of regeneration

Planting layout, density and distance

Planting method

Crop management

Weed management


Common pests and diseases

Pest and disease control


Monitoring accession identity

Once the tree is mature and bears fruit, compare general fruit and leaf characters with the original mother plant to ensure that the regenerated plant was obtained from the desired parent tree.

Documentation of information during regeneration

Collect the following information during regeneration:

References and further reading

Bioversity International, NTBG. 2009. Key access and utilization descriptors for breadfruit genetic resources. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy; National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii, USA. Available here.

Coronel RE. 1983. Rimas and kamansi. Promising Fruits of the Philippines. University of the Philippines at Los Baños. pp 379–398.

Nakasone HY, Paull RE. 1998. Breadfruit. In: Tropical Fruits. CAB International, Wallingford, UK. pp. 329–334.

Ragone D. 1997. Breadfruit: Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosberg. Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops. 10. IPGRI, Rome, Italy.

Ragone D. 2001. Chromosome numbers and pollen stainability of three species of Pacific Island breadfruit (Artocarpus, Moraceae). American Journal of Botany 88(4):693–696.

Ragone D. 2006. Artocarpus altilis (breadfruit). In: Elevitch CR, editor. Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands. Permanent Agriculture Resources (PAR), Holualoa, Hawaii. pp 85–100. Available at Date accessed: 22 July 2008.

Smith NJH, Williams JT, Plucknett DL, Talbot JP. 1992. Tropical Forests and Their Crops. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. pp. 296–303.

Webster SA 2006. The Breadfruit in Jamaica: A Commercial and Horticultural Perspective. Seymour Webster, Port Antonio, Jamaica.

Zerega NJC, Ragone D, Motley TJ. 2004. Complex origins of breadfruit: implications for human migrations in Oceania. American Journal of Botany 91(5):760–766.

Useful web links

The Breadfruit Institute [homepage of the Breadfruit Institute] [online]. Available from: URL: Date accessed: 22 July 2008

Morton J. 1987. Breadfruit [online]. Available from: URL: Date accessed: 22 July 2008.


These guidelines have been peer reviewed by Francis Zee, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), USA and Bill Raynor, Nature Conservancy, USA.

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