Chocolate Tree

Assumingly, you know that chocolate comes from the cacao. Here are some interesting infos about the “tree of life” of all the chocophiles out there.

Cacao trees are small evergreen trees measuring around 6 meters tall. Such trees are producing fruit and flowers all throughout the year and are farmed in countries within 10 degrees North and 10 degrees South of the Equator in which the climate is best for the growth of these cacao trees given that they need a warm and humid environment. More to these, cacao trees require soil that is fertile and well-irrigated, plus regular rainfall, for their optimum growth.

Cacao trees normally grow in rainforests. Shades of heavy canopy fall on them and they use it to their benefit since they grow best when covered with some sort of shade.

In the wild, these trees grow underneath the larger evergreen trees and are often seed along rivers.

Just so you know, cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia now in Mexico, Central America and South America. The leading suppliers of cacao are Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia.

It takes around five years for a cacao tree to yield its first crop. It becomes an adult plant come year ten. It yields between 300 and 1000 pounds of cocoa per acre for approximately 50 years.

The seed pods grow directly off the trunk of the tree, instead of the ends of the branches. Every pod is the size of a pineapple measuring between 5 and 12 inches long and between 3 and 5 inches wide. It usually has about thirty to fifty seeds inside. It takes around 400 to 500 seeds to come up with a pound of chocolate. Cocoa beans, which are used in making chocolate, are the dried and fully fermented fatty seeds of the cacao tree.

Actually, cacao flowers are not pollinated by bees or butterflies like most flowers, but by forcipomyia midges which are like tiny flies. And just a fun fact, these midges have the fastest wing-beats of any creature on earth, about 1000 times per second!

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