Breadfruit trees grow to 25m. The thick and large leaves are pinnately shaped. All parts of the tree yield latex, a milky juice. The trees grow with both male and female flowers on the same tree. The male flowers emerge first, followed by the female flowers, which are able to pollinate three days later. The fruit develops from the swollen perianth and originates from 1,500-2,000 flowers. Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants. A single tree can produce up to 200 or more fruits per season.The fruit is ovoid and has a rough surface.
The breadfruit grows throughout Southeast Asia,South India, and most Pacific Ocean Islands. Ancestors of the Polynesians found trees growing in Northwest New Guinea and raised breadfruit wherever they went in the Pacific.It grows best in areas below elevations 650 meters. It also prefers rainfalls in 1,500-3,000 millimeters and soils that are neutral to alkaline. Habitats with sand or loam are suitable for breadfruit. This particular breadfruit tree was found on Ma‘ili‘ili‘i Road in Wai’anae.
Breadfruit is a staple food in many tropical regions. They are very rich in starch and before being eaten, they are roasted, baked, fried, or boiled. When cooked, the taste of ripe breadfruit is described as potato-like, or similar to baked bread.Very ripe breadfruit becomes sweet and the starch converts to sugar. Native Hawaiians used the sticky latex to trap birds, whose feathers made cloaks. The latex was also used as a glue. Hawaiians would also use the mature leaves of the plant as a sandpaper.