Alvim, Paulo de T. Centro de Pesquisas do Cacau, Itabuna, Bahia, Brazil.
Zentmyer, George A. Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside, California.
Last reviewed:December 2019
- Fruit and seeds
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Theobroma cacao, a small tropical tree, also known as the chocolate tree and cocoa tree, that is cultivated for its almond-shaped seeds, which are used to make chocolate. The cacao tree reaches 4–6 m (13–19.7 ft) in height and is a member of the family Sterculiaceae (also Malvaceae) in the order Malvales (formerly Theales). The species is native to the rainforests of the Amazon basin and two regions of distribution in pre-Columbian times are recognized. The crop was first cultivated in Central America and northern South America; the varieties found there are known as Criollos. The second region comprises the Amazon and Orinoco basins, where the cacao populations are known as Amazonian Forastero. The second type is more commonly cultivated, particularly in Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil, which produce more than 75% of the world's annual output. See also: Horticultural crops; Malvales; Theales; Tree
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