Artocarpus is a genus of about 60 trees of Southeast Asian origin and the Pacific, belonging to the mulberry family Moraceae.
This genus is closely related to and rather difficult to distinguish from the genus Ficus.
They are all laticiferous trees and a few shrubs, of which the leaves, the twigs and the stem can produce a milky sap.
The trees are monoecious, with unisexual flowers, with both sexes on the same plant. The small, greenish, female flowers grow on short, fleshy spikes. After pollination they grow into a syncarpous fruit, which can become very large. The ovary is superior. The stipulated leaves vary from small and entire (Artocarpus integer) to large and lobed (Artocarpus communis). The cordate leaves of Artocarpus communis end in a long, sharp tip.
Several species in the genus bear edible fruit and are commonly cultivated: Artocarpus communis (Breadfruit), Artocarpus integer (Cempedak), Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jackfruit) and Artocarpus odoratissimus (Marang). In the most recent revision of Artocarpus, the highly variable species Artocarpus communis contains the following three species of breadfruit : Artocarpus altilis, Artocarpus mariannensis and Artocarpus camansi.
The name 'Artocarpus' is derived from the Greek words 'artos' (= bread) and 'karpos' (= fruit). This name was established by Johann Reinhold Forster and J. Georg Adam Forster, the father and son team of botanist aboard the HMS Resolution on James Cook's second voyage.
Breadfruit and jackfruit are cultivated widely in the tropical SE Asia. Other species are cultivated locally for their timber, fruit or edible seeds.
Recent phylogenetic research, based on leaf arrangement, leaf anatomical characters and stipules, indicates that there are at least two subgenera in Artocarpus
- subgenus Artocarpus : perianth of fruit is partially connate
- subgenus Pseudojaca : perianth entirely connate.
The genus Prainea is closely allied to the subgenus Pseudojaca, and some researchers treat it as a third subgenus of Artocarpus. The following list still follows the traditional line.
- Artocarpus altilis - (included in A. communis)
- Artocarpus camansi - (included in A. communis)
- Artocarpus chaplasha - Chaplaish Bangladesh
- Artocarpus communis - Breadfruit, Antipolo, Camansi, Anubing; see also African Breadfruit)
- Artocarpus elasticus - Bendo
- Artocarpus heterophyllus - Nangka, Jackfruit
- Artocarpus hirsutus - Angily, Angelin, Hirsute Artocarpus
- Artocarpus integer - Cempedak
- Artocarpus lingnanensis
- Artocarpus mariannensis - (included in A. communis)
- Artocarpus nitidus - Jackfruit
- Artocarpus odoratissimus - Marang
- Artocarpus rigidus - Monkey Jack
- Artocarpus tamaran
- Possible subgenera of Artocarpus
- Nyree Conrad Zerega- Dissertation Topic : Phylogeny of the genus Artocarpus (Moraceae), with a focus on the systematics, genetics, conservation, and biogeography of breadfruit
- Zerega, NJC and TJ Motley. 2001. Artocarpus (Moraceae) molecular phylogeny and the systematics and origins of breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis. Presented at the Botanical Society of America annual meeting, Albuquerque, NM, August 12 – 16, 2001.