Cacao seed Theobroma cacao

 

  The Cacao tree fruit is a huge berry called cacao pod, usually egg or melon-shaped, 5 to 12 inches long and 3 to 5 inches wide. The cacao pod contains 30 to 40 seeds. It takes 20 to 25 pods to get 2 pounds of cocoa. Once the tree reaches maturity, fruit pods will sprout from its trunk and branches. The golden-red to purple fruit pods turn brown at maturity, at which time they are split open and the insides scooped out.

   The Cacao Tree is a shade tolerant, moisture loving, understory rainforest tree. It naturally favors riparian zones so often in the wild is found along rivers. The trees live for up to 100 years, but cultivated trees are considered economically productive for only about 60 years.

    Unlike most fruit that grows on the branches, cacao pods grow directly on the trunk of the tree. The cacao tree yields its first crop at 3-4 years old.