Richmond Vale

Tree of the Week: Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis)

The breadfruit tree has an exceptional significance in Saint Vincent because of the peculiar story behind its introduction to the Caribbean. It began in 1787 when the English Captain William Bligh and his ship, the Bounty, set sail for Tahiti in the South Pacific. Their mission was to collect breadfruit which England hoped would be a successful crop for feeding slaves. Shortly after departing from Tahiti, Bounty’s crew mutinied. The reason for the mutiny is merely speculated. Many believe that during their five months in Tahiti the crew fell in love with the Tahitian women and the easy island life and did not want to return to the rigors of seamanship. Another story is that the crew was angered at Bligh because he was using their drinking water to keep the breadfruit trees alive on the voyage. Bligh then set out on a second breadfruit voyage in 1791. The fruit finally made it to the Caribbean; its first introduction taking place right here in Saint Vincent. It arrived in Kingstown on January 23, 1793. The breadfruit tree has been deeply embedded in Saint Vincent culture ever since. It is sometimes referred to as a Caribbean “super food” and is even included in the country’s national dish: breadfruit and jackfish. The most popular way to prepare the breadfruit is to roast it over an open fire or...
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