Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry and jackfruit family (Moraceae) believed to be a domesticated descendant of Artocarpus camansi originating in New Guinea, the Maluku Islands, and the Philippines. It was initially spread to Oceania via the Austronesian expansion. It was further spread to other tropical regions of the world during the Colonial Era. British and French navigators introduced a few Polynesian seedless varieties to Caribbean islands during the late 18th century. Today it is grown in some 90 countries throughout South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, Central America and Africa. Its name is derived from the texture of the moderately ripe fruit when cooked, similar to freshly baked bread and having a potato-like flavor.
The trees have been widely planted in tropical regions, including lowland Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean. In addition to the fruit serving as a staple food in many cultures, the light, sturdy timber of breadfruit has been used for outriggers, ships, and houses in the tropics.
Breadfruit is closely related to Artocarpus camansi (breadnut or seeded breadfruit) of New Guinea, the Maluku Islands, and the Philippines, Artocarpus blancoi (tipolo or antipolo) of the Philippines, and Artocarpus mariannensis (dugdug) of Micronesia, all of which are sometimes also referred to as “breadfruit”. It is also closely related to the jackfruit.