Skip to Content

Brosimum alicastrum – Wikipedia

« Back to Glossary Index

**Botanical Characteristics and Cultivation**:
– Brosimum alicastrum can exhibit monoecious, dioecious, or hermaphroditic traits.
– Birds and bats aid in seed dispersal, with a tree producing 150–180 kg of fruits annually.
– The tree can grow up to 45m tall and 1.5m in diameter, with fruiting beginning at 3.5 years in full sun.
– Challenges in cultivation include high seed density affecting plant viability, seed storage impacting germination rates, and risks of seed death with refrigeration.
– Long-term storage negatively affects germination rates, posing challenges for seedling production.

**Geographical Distribution and Habitat**:
– Found in central and southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, the Caribbean, and the Amazon basin.
– Thrives in moist lowland tropical forests at elevations of 300–2,000m.
– Requires annual rainfall between 600–2,000mm and temperatures around 24°C.
– Large stands are present at elevations of 125–800m in humid areas with average temperatures of 24°C.

**Nutritional and Culinary Value**:
– Brosimum alicastrum is high in fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, protein, and B vitamins.
– It has a low glycemic index of 50 and is rich in antioxidants and prebiotic fiber.
– Seeds can be cooked, dried, roasted, and milled into a powder, with varied tastes from mashed potato when stewed to chocolate or coffee when roasted.
– Cultivated in Petén, Guatemala for both local consumption and exportation.

**Cultural and Traditional Significance**:
– Historically, the tree’s edible large seed was potentially part of the pre-Columbian Maya diet.
– Named after Maya archaeological sites in Guatemala and planted by the Maya civilization 2000 years ago.
– It is marginalized as a nutrition source in the modern era but remains important in Maya subsistence and various rituals.
– Considered a sacred tree by some indigenous groups, symbolizing resilience and sustainability.

**Ecological Importance and Conservation**:
– Brosimum alicastrum supports biodiversity in agroforestry systems, aids in soil carbon storage, and provides habitat for wildlife.
– It contributes to ecosystem resilience, carbon sequestration, and is included in agroforestry projects for sustainable land use.
– Efforts focus on promoting breadnut cultivation for food security, preserving traditional knowledge, protecting natural habitats, and collaborating with local communities for sustainable resource management.

« Back to Glossary Index