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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 12 | Sterculiaceae | Theobroma

1. Theobroma cacao Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 782. 1753.

可可 ke ke

Evergreen trees, to 12 m tall; bark thick, dark gray-brown. Branchlets brown, puberulent. Stipules linear, caducous; leaf blade narrowly ovate- to obovate-elliptic, 20-30 × 7-10 cm, both surfaces glabrous or sparsely stellate, base rounded to shallowly cordate, apex long acuminate. Inflorescence small and delicate, cymose. Flowers ca. 18 mm in diam.; pedicels ca. 12 mm. Calyx pink, lobes narrowly lanceolate, persistent, margin hairy. Petals 5, yellowish, lightly longer than calyx, lower part helmet-shaped and abruptly narrowed, reflexed, apex acute. Staminodes linear. Ovary obovoid, slightly 5-angular, 5-celled; ovules 14-16 per locule, in 2 rows; style cylindrical. Drupe ellipsoid or narrowly ellipsoid, 15-20 × ca. 7 cm, longitudinally 10-grooved; endocarp thick, fleshy, hard and woody when dried, 4-8 mm thick. Seeds 12-14 per cell, ovoid, slightly flattened, ca. 2.5 × 1.5 cm. Fl. throughout year.

Cultivated. Hainan, S Yunnan [native of South America, now widely cultivated throughout wet tropics].

The seeds are important as the source of chocolate and cocoa.


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