Recently I followed one of my gardening comrades to harvest some fruits from a nearby primary school. It turned out to be Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) we are going after. A close cousin to the common Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Breadfruit is used for culinary purposes. When cooked, it gives out a hint of aroma similar to freshly baked bread, which gives the name of the plant.
The tree was tall, more than 5 metres, was bearing more than 20 fruits, were quite a challenge to us. Some of the fruits were really high up and out of our reach. The mature fruits were the size of a basketball, and cutting them from below worry us that we might need helmets! The leaves are big, and deeply cut into pinnate lobes and the stalk of the fruit was too thick to use a stick to knock them off.
We have to use a pole cutter, to reach for the higher fruits, and it took us more than an hour just to collect 5 fruits! When cut, the tree excretes its sap, which was used by the native Hawaiians as glue to catch birds.
The entire experience was exciting, harvesting fruits after years of maintenance and care was something gratifying and hard to describe…