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Theobroma cacao or Cacao is a small, evergreen tree about 8 m in height and 30 cm in trunk diameter. It is native to Central and South America. The leaves are large, simple, and alternate, about 40 cm long and 5-20 cm broad. The flowers, small with pink calyx, occur in clusters on the trunk and older branches. It is pollinated by small flies. Fruits are ovoid, yellow to orange pods containing 20 to 60 seeds each. There are three main types of cacao: Criollio Cacaos, which originated from Central America, red-skinned, highest grade but low-yielding;Trinitario Cacaos, from Trinidad and high grade;and Forastero Cacaos, from the Amazon Basin. The seeds, known as cacao beans, are widely used to make chocolates. It is dried, fermented, and roasted to yield cocoa chocolate and cocoa butter. The fruit pulp can be eaten raw or made into juices and jealous. Although mainly cultivated for food use, cacao also has medicinal uses. It is used to stimulate the nervous system, lower blood pressure, dilates the coronary arteries, and soothes and softens damaged skin. It is also used against anemia, angina, bruises, chapped skin and burns, diarrhea, and leprosy spots. Cacao tree also provides other commodities for local use such as fiber for clothing, thread, and paper, wood for construction and implements, etc., and coverings for houses, among many other items.

Theobroma cacao is an evergreen Tree growing to 8 m by 8 m at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Thrips, Midges, Ants, Aphids. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: medium and heavy soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade semi-shade or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant is not wind tolerant.

Global Crop Management: Standard Other Systems: Multistrata
A tree of the lowland tropics, usually found below 300 metres but occasionally found as high as 900 metres. It succeeds where the mean annual temperature is in the range 18 - 28.5°c with a maximum temperature of 30 - 33.5°c and a minimum 13 - 18°c. The absolute minimum is 10°c, below which trees are likely to suffer severe damage. Rainfall should be plentiful and well distributed throughout the year. An annual rainfall level of between 1,500 - 2,000mm is suitable, though it is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 480 - 4,300mm. Requires a fertile, moisture-retentive but well-drained soil in sun or part shade in a position sheltered from the wind. Prefers an acid soil. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4 - 8. An understorey tree of the forest, it grows best in dappled shade, but can even produce well in quite dense shade. There are three main types of cacao:- Criollo Cacaos originated in Central America. It is red skinned and the highest grade, but is low-yielding. Trinitario Cacaos arose in Trinidad. It is high grade. Forastero Cacaos comes from the Amazon Basin. The insignificant flowers have a faint, sweet fragrance. In favourable conditions both flowers and fruit will be borne throughout the year. Freshly planted young trees are slow to establish and grow away, rarely growing more than 1.5 metres tall after 2 years. Weeding and temporary shade are essential within the first 3 - 4 years of establishment before the canopy closes. Plantain appears to meet most of cocoa's requirements in this respect, whereas bananas compete heavily for moisture during the dry season. There are some named varieties. Flowering Time: Blooms all year. Bloom Color: White/Near White Cream/Tan. Spacing: 12-15 ft. .

An understorey plant of evergreen rainforest in the wet humid tropics
growing in places that are not usually seasonally inundated.


Has major pests


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