Cocoa Facts

SPECIES NAME:  Theobroma cacao (from the family Sterculiaceae)

CACAO: Name of the plant and the unmanufactured product.

COCOA: Products manufactured from the bean-like seeds of the tree.

Criollo, Forastero, Trinitaio and Hawaiian. Forastero is the most important commercial type and produces "bulk" cocoa.

Generally tropical and subtropical countries such as Brazil, Africa, Malaysia and Hawaii.

Areas lying within 20 degrees latitude of the equator. Temperature ranges of 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Annual rainfall between 60 and 80 inches. No persistent strong winds. Soil conditions can vary, but a firm root-hold and moisture retention are necessary.

LIFESPAN: Cocoa trees generally begin to bear fruit after three years and can live up to 100 years after maturity.

PROPAGATION: Cocoa trees are bisexual and pollination occurs primarily through the small midge fly. Mature trees produce approximately 10,000 flowers per year of which 10,000 become pollinated and 100 develop into mature pods. Normally, a pod contains 20 to 40 seeds, which become cocoa beans when harvested.


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