Bredfrut Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department

Bredfrut (Breadfruit)

  • Pollination is not required for fruit to form.
  • Can help stabilise soil on steep hillsides.
  • Quickly regrows branches after being damaged by strong winds.

Artocarpus altilis

Bredfrut is a widely distributed pantropical species and is cultivated on most Pacific Islands. It prefers to grow in climates with summer rains.

Bredfrut has spreading evergreen canopy and generally growing 12-15 m in height, but can reach up over 21 m. The trunk can be large, up to 2 m in diameter. All parts of the tree contain a white milky latex.

Vanuatu is an important centre for diversity in breadfruit. Over 30 different cultivars are found in northern Vanuatu, potentially up to 100.


Leaves are alternate, broadly obovate to ovate. The leaf blade is generally smooth, glossy, dark green with green or yellow-green veins and a few to many white to reddish-white hairs on the midrib and veins. The underside of the leaves is light green and matt.


Male flowers appear first and are club-shaped, up to 5 cm in diameter and 45 cm long. Thousands of tiny flowers are attached to a central, spongy core. Female inflorescence is 1500-2000 reduced green flowers attached to a spongy core. The flowers fuse together to form a fleshy edible fruit.


The fruits are variable in shape, size, and surface texture, although they are usually round, oval or oblong and range from 9-20 cm wide and more than 30 cm long. Skin texture varies from smooth to slightly bumpy or spiny. Fruit colour is light green, yellowish-green or yellow when mature. The flesh of the fruit is creamy white or pale yellow and contains none to many seeds, depending on the variety. Seeded varieties are more common in Vanuatu.

  • First fully open flower
  • Less than half the tree is in full flower
  • More than half the tree is in full flower
  • All of the tree is in full flower
  • No flowering
  • Less than half the tree has fruit
  • More than half the tree has fruit
  • All of the tree has fruit
  • No fruit
  • Green fruit present
  • Ripened fruit present

When to Look

  • Fruits may appear on trees year around, though there are two or three main fruiting periods
  • Peak fruiting is December to February, followed sometimes by a further small production of fruit in June to August. Some cultivars fruit out of season.
  • Most varieties producing one or two crops per year, mainly during the hot, rainy summer months and followed by a smaller crop 3-4 months later. 
  • Flowering pattern depends on cultivar in the humid tropics but away from the equator seasons determine shoot growth and all cultivars flower and fruit more or less simultaneously.


Where to Look

  • Grows best in tropical lowlands (<650 m) with annual rainfall of 1500-3000 mm but can be found up to 1550 m. 
  • Often found in open spaces in villages, gardens and edges of footpaths.