Cacao Plant (Theobroma cacao)
cacao is a small
understory tree native to the American tropical rainforest, which has evolved
to utilize the shade of the heavy canopy.
It originated in clumps along riverbanks in the Amazon basin on the
eastern equatorial slopes of the Andes.
cacao tree is a small and handsome evergreen tree, growing from 12 to 25 feet high, and branching at the top; when cultivated it is not
allowed to grow so high. The stem is erect, straight, 4 to 6 feet high; the
wood light and white; the bark thin, somewhat smooth, and brownish. The seeds
are numerous, compressed, 1 inch long, reddish-brown externally, dark-brown
internally, and imbedded in a whitish, sweetish, buttery pulp.
pods come in a rainbow of colors from green to yellow, red and purple. Some
pods are striped with two and even three colors at full maturity. There could
be no easier display than an eye-catching grouping of cacao pods on a simple
Cacao plants are cultivated in rainforest habitats throughout the tropics, a small understory tree native to the American
tropical rainforest, which has evolved to utilize the shade of the heavy canopy.
Cacao trees grow and bear fruit in a band 20 degrees north and south of the equator. They thrive on tropical rains and partial shade. Cacao can be grown in South Florida given attention to a few specific conditions. The largest number of species are found in
northwestern South America, where the tree is
native. However over half of the world supply of
commercial Cacao comes from two East African countries.
For more information how to Grow Cacao in South Florida, Click Here
Cacao at Fairchild
Visit The Edible Garden, Tropical Fruit Pavilion and the Simons Rainforest at Fairchild to see our cacao trees and fruit.