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rfielding

Florida breadfruit information request

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rfielding

Hello all, 

I'm a geographer based in South Carolina, but a Florida native, with an interest in breadfruit as a tool for food security. I'm especially interested in efforts to push the latitudinal boundaries of breadfruit, including the good work that many are doing to grow breadfruit in Florida. I'd love to hear from members of this forum on their efforts to grow breadfruit in Florida or other places where it's challenging. Feel free to reply here or email me directly at rfielding@coastal.edu. Thanks very much!

Russell Fielding
Coastal Carolina University 

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chinandega81

I planted a small breadfruit tree last year in North Miami. I have seen perhaps 10 nights so far this winter season in the 40s. I covered up the breadfruit in frost cloth and strung Xmas lights on it. I put a thermometer inside this tent and the temps experienced were always in the 50s on the nights that the outside temp was in the 40s. Next winter the tree will be too large to protect and it's fate will be that similar to many others on mainland SE Florida. They basically stop growing when the cold fronts start moving in and the mature leaves die off first with temps below 50. The newer growth burns back to but seems to hold on as does the newer vegetation....until warm weather resumes it's fast growth in the spring. There are many rather large bread fruit trees that grow without protection and even fruit in the North Miami area. They need a lot of water and need to be fed with their fast growth and our poor soils. If we get temperatures in the 30s there would be actual temp and branch die back. Ask if you would like to know anything more from my experience.

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rfielding

Thanks very much for sharing your experience. I hope to be in the Miami area later this month. If anyone would be willing to meet up (outdoors, masked) to talk breadfruit, please let me know!

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NOT A TA

My next door neighbor grows & sells fruit trees. He's been selling breadfruit for at least the past five years since I first became aware that he grew them. Although both he and I were here for the cold events of 2010 I don't know if he was growing them then. He's been pretty much out of commission for the past year and I've rarely seen him at all since he was released from the hospital after a month stay there due to Covid. He's never really recovered. His plants are getting minimal care and no protection so I don't know how long they'll survive being in growers pots without attention.

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chinandega81

I'm surprised he has them in pots. They grow so fast and become huge trees here in South Florida. I just discovered a massive one a few blocks from my house that is at *least* 40 feet tall.

I assume most of the breadfruit trees in South Florida mainland were planted after the nightmare winter of 2010....I doubt they would have survived it. But it seems like the largest ones are about 10 years in the ground currently.

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rfielding
2 hours ago, chinandega81 said:

I'm surprised he has them in pots. They grow so fast and become huge trees here in South Florida. I just discovered a massive one a few blocks from my house that is at *least* 40 feet tall.

I assume most of the breadfruit trees in South Florida mainland were planted after the nightmare winter of 2010....I doubt they would have survived it. But it seems like the largest ones are about 10 years in the ground currently.

This is very interesting. I was in the Keys during the big freeze of 2010 and remember feeling quite empathetic for the tropical and subtropical species (including Homo sapeins!) down there at the time. But if what you're saying is right, then they certainly do grow fast. Forty feet in just over ten years is incredible! Does anyone on this forum happen to know of a South Florida breadfruit tree whose age is definitely known? I wonder what the oldest living breadfruit tree on the mainland would be? Grown outdoors, of course. 

On a related note, would anyone care to venture a guess as to what the northernmost breadfruit tree in the US is? I read in an old horticultural journal about some that were growing in Vero Beach in the early 20th century. If those are still there, they might be contenders. 

Also, I've had to push back my trip slightly, but I'll be in the Miami area April 11-15 and the Keys April 15-19 to collect some preliminary information for my breadfruit research project. If anyone here would like to meet up (masked, distanced, outdoors) and talk about breadfruit or, better yet, show me your trees, I'd be very happy to do so. Please drop me an email at rfielding@coastal.edu if so. 

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mnorell

As far as a northernmost tree, I wouldn't be looking around Vero Beach! They would have been long, long gone in that cold climate. I have heard it is growing in sheltered places in Miami Beach, but I don't know exact locations. You certainly wouldn't find one north of Palm Beach, as the Gulf Stream departs at that point. Start in Key West and work your way northward along the barrier islands, that would be the most likely location to find any hiding out as you move north.

Breadfruit was not terribly harmed in the Lower Keys during the 2010 cold, despite lows of about 40-41F across those westernmost islands. We bought our house on Big Pine in 2010, and there was a very, very large (like 30-40 feet) tree a couple of houses away. That tree was beautiful, full of fruit, but was thrown over like nothing in Irma's 160+mph winds in 2017. That was really hard to see go, though nearly everything else went in that hurricane, so it was just one of a gazillion losses. But others have been planted in the neighborhood since then. I had some 'Ma'afala' (this is the cultivar sold by Pine Island Nursery in Miami) in the ground and I found them to be disappointingly slow-growing. Those young trees were blackened by the 12+ hours of ocean submersion. They are also eaten by the Key Deer (they love anything in the Moraceae), so young trees had to be protected by cages until over 7' tall. I desperately wanted to get hold of a cultivar tolerant of salt inundation (such as 'Mai-Tarika' from the Gilbert Islands), as this would be necessary for growing it long-term in the Keys and much of South Florida subject to saltwater intrusion. But I could never locate a source.

In the Upper Keys, at Plantation Key, there is a nursery on the highway with a large Artocarpus altilis in the ground. I remember visiting that place a couple of years after the 2010 cold-wave and the tree was a big multi-trunked thing, sprawling all over the place from root-suckers. The owner told me it always comes back after severe cold, and I believe she said it had seen about 35F there at the coldest point of that horrible winter.

I should mention an Artocarpus located in Key West at the corner of South St. and Duval (at Southernmost Point Guest House, the historic Eduardo H. Gato house). It has a very unusual leaf (barely lobed) and may be a different species or cultivar, though I seem to remember seeing fruit on it that looked like standard breadfruit. It was definitely tip- and leaf-damaged (and deciduous, with slight branch dieback) in the 2010 cold, so I suspect it is slightly different from the more standard forms, such as was growing in our neighborhood on Big Pine. I think it has been hacked up by their maintenance crews so doesn't have the best form to begin with, unfortunately. Here it is in 2011, after recovering from the cold, and you can plainly see the unusual leaf-form, here.

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chinandega81
56 minutes ago, rfielding said:

This is very interesting. I was in the Keys during the big freeze of 2010 and remember feeling quite empathetic for the tropical and subtropical species (including Homo sapeins!) down there at the time. But if what you're saying is right, then they certainly do grow fast. Forty feet in just over ten years is incredible! Does anyone on this forum happen to know of a South Florida breadfruit tree whose age is definitely known? I wonder what the oldest living breadfruit tree on the mainland would be? Grown outdoors, of course. 

On a related note, would anyone care to venture a guess as to what the northernmost breadfruit tree in the US is? I read in an old horticultural journal about some that were growing in Vero Beach in the early 20th century. If those are still there, they might be contenders. 

Also, I've had to push back my trip slightly, but I'll be in the Miami area April 11-15 and the Keys April 15-19 to collect some preliminary information for my breadfruit research project. If anyone here would like to meet up (masked, distanced, outdoors) and talk about breadfruit or, better yet, show me your trees, I'd be very happy to do so. Please drop me an email at rfielding@coastal.edu if so. 

If you look at the temperatures in Miami during the 2010 winter you will see sustained, cold temperatures. The temperatures alone wouldn't have killed breadfruits outright however the long duration and overal cold throughout the entire winter season would have killed any unproteted outdoor breadfruits in mainland South Florida during that season. Even coconut palms (which are hardy here) were defoliated and or severly damaged in many neighborhoods. Granted, they came back as did most tropicals...but for those "tough" troipicals to have looked so bad is telling.

 

I created a different thread Breadfruit Trees in North Miami - TROPICAL LOOKING PLANTS - Other Than Palms - PalmTalk last year where I posted several pictures of breadfruit trees around North Miami. The 40 footer isn't included but it is located in a back yard of a hsue at the corner of NW 132 St and NW 13 Ave in N. Miami. It's much larger than the pics on streetview.

 

I would like to do a breadfruit tour, and would love to see other people's trees and find out about other specimens growing in the area. Or just to see pictures if anyone has any. Most of the trees here are in backyards so it's mostly just drive bys.

 

I don't know the Treasure Coast too well but based on my assumptions I would think that breadfruit wouldn't survive over 10 years anywhere north of coastal Palm Beach County. I suppose there could be some great microclimates furthur up the coast that would support breadfruit trees, but they would require frequent protection in most winters.

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RedRabbit

Supposedly there are/were some breadfruit growing on Sanibel Island, does anyone know if they're still there?

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rfielding
9 minutes ago, RedRabbit said:

Supposedly there are/were some breadfruit growing on Sanibel Island, does anyone know if they're still there?

I have a good friend who lives there and I asked him about it just now. He wasn't aware of any but I've asked him to keep an eye out. Speaking of the Gulf Coast, in older articles I've found mention of breadfruit trees growing in Bradenton and Clearwater. Various cold snaps seem to have done them all in but I'm optimistic (perhaps irrationally so?) about finding some growing in unexpected places. 

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aabell

Here's a small one at the Edison Ford Estates, Fort Myers. Not sure exactly how recently it was planted but this is a good microclimate, steps from the Caloosahatchee River, will be interesting to see how it does. Only got to about 43 here this winter, 38 or so last winter. 

20201215_115514~2.jpg

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rfielding
40 minutes ago, chinandega81 said:

I created a different thread Breadfruit Trees in North Miami - TROPICAL LOOKING PLANTS - Other Than Palms - PalmTalk last year where I posted several pictures of breadfruit trees around North Miami. The 40 footer isn't included but it is located in a back yard of a hsue at the corner of NW 132 St and NW 13 Ave in N. Miami. It's much larger than the pics on streetview.

I would like to do a breadfruit tour, and would love to see other people's trees and find out about other specimens growing in the area. Or just to see pictures if anyone has any. Most of the trees here are in backyards so it's mostly just drive bys.

Thanks so much for the Miami photo thread. Would you be willing to share the locations with me, via email? I'd also like to do some drive-bys while I'm there in April. 

Let's keep your idea of the breadfruit tour in mind. I would love to facilitate something like that, and to invite members from this forum with a lot more knowledge on the subject than I have. It's probably not realistic until after the pandemic, but hopefully that's coming soon. 

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rfielding
17 minutes ago, aabell said:

Here's a small one at the Edison Ford Estates, Fort Myers. Not sure exactly how recently it was planted but this is a good microclimate, steps from the Caloosahatchee River, will be interesting to see how it does. Only got to about 43 here this winter, 38 or so last winter. 

Very interesting. Perhaps I should expand my search to the Gulf Coast of Florida as well as the Miami-area. I grew up in Tampa but apparently that gives me no special advantage when it comes to breadfruit trees in the region. Been gone too long...

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aabell
47 minutes ago, rfielding said:

Very interesting. Perhaps I should expand my search to the Gulf Coast of Florida as well as the Miami-area. I grew up in Tampa but apparently that gives me no special advantage when it comes to breadfruit trees in the region. Been gone too long...

I just double checked that photo was from December, just before our cold-ish January. I'll have to swing by soon and see how it looks now after quite a few nights in the mid 40s. 

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chinandega81
1 hour ago, rfielding said:

Thanks so much for the Miami photo thread. Would you be willing to share the locations with me, via email? I'd also like to do some drive-bys while I'm there in April. 

Let's keep your idea of the breadfruit tour in mind. I would love to facilitate something like that, and to invite members from this forum with a lot more knowledge on the subject than I have. It's probably not realistic until after the pandemic, but hopefully that's coming soon. 

I don't recall the addresses for the most part, I just took some pics as I was randonly driving around. You can basically just drive the residential streets of the city of North Miami and find many breadfruits in the yards. There are many more than the ones in the pics overall, they were just smaller so I didn't bother photographing.

 

I think the Naples zoo had or has a breadfruit. I would think Captiva or Sanibel could support them as well. SW FL gets a lot cooler at night in the winter than SE FL but I'm sure there are people with small specimens that they protect in Lee and Collier counties. In general, Haitians like to plant them so wherever you find Haitian neighborhoods is a good place to look. I believe there are a lot of Haitians in Vero Beach and if so I wouldn't be surprised is someone is nursing a breadfruit or two through the winters up there despite the odds.

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Xenon

I saw a breadfruit tree at Fruitscapes in Bokeelia, Pine Island (Lee County) a few years back. It should still be there 

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rfielding

Thanks for the leads at the Naples Zoo and Fruitscapes. I've reached out to both. This is something of a detective mission, so please continue to share breadfruit sightings. I'll follow up and share my findings with the group. 

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NOT A TA

I saw my next door neighbor outside so I asked about the breadfruit and took a few pics. He also grows breadnut, Jack fruit, and other fruit trees. He says there's a breadfruit about 30' tall he knows of in Lantana near here and told me which of my neighbors he sold them to over the past several years who have them in ground and I will go see if I can get pics of them. The farthest North he knew of was a home with two fairly large trees in Pensacola on the beach, don't know how long ago or if they've survived recent hurricanes, cold etc.

20210218_150533.jpg?width=1920&height=10

20210218_150538.jpg?width=1920&height=10

20210218_150549.jpg?width=1920&height=10

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rfielding
17 hours ago, NOT A TA said:

I saw my next door neighbor outside so I asked about the breadfruit and took a few pics. He also grows breadnut, Jack fruit, and other fruit trees. He says there's a breadfruit about 30' tall he knows of in Lantana near here and told me which of my neighbors he sold them to over the past several years who have them in ground and I will go see if I can get pics of them. The farthest North he knew of was a home with two fairly large trees in Pensacola on the beach, don't know how long ago or if they've survived recent hurricanes, cold etc.

Great photos, thanks for sharing! I'd love to know more about the 30' in-ground tree in Lantana and especially about the ones that are/were growing in Pensacola. 

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NOT A TA
11 hours ago, rfielding said:

Great photos, thanks for sharing! I'd love to know more about the 30' in-ground tree in Lantana and especially about the ones that are/were growing in Pensacola. 

The tree in Lantana is on the strip of land between the Intracoastal and the Atlantic. I believe it's in the Hypoluxo island area. He doesn't know the address and if I spoke creole getting directions would be easier but I'll give it a shot and see if I can find it when I'm in the area. hahaha.

He said the home with two trees way up in Pensacola was right on the beach. Someone with better Googlefoo than I might be able to find it on Street View or something.

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chinandega81

I hate to say it, but to avoid a wild goose chase, a breadfruit tree has zero chance of survival, outdoors, in Pensacola, even in their warmest possible winter. Perhaps the ones in Pensacola are in potters that can be wheeled inside during winter. They die completely at freezing...and temps in the 40s cause damage. Not to mention multiple nights of this happening throughout the winter. Pensacola Beach sees low temps in the 30s and 40s regularly throughout the majority of the winter season...if there is no coconut palm surviving there, there is even less of chance of a breadfruit survivng outdoors there without extreme protection. Remember, even in extreme South Florida they are marginal and all current trees seem to have been planted since 2010. They grow very fast so they are able to recover and have a good run and look great here but when we get another winter from hell like in 2010, many of these trees will die back severely. Depending on the severity and duration of the cold, they will grow back from the roots or die outright. I am just hoping for fewer artic invasion and cold patterns that get stuck like what just happened in Texas. Even the South Florida version of that with say highs near 50 and lows in the 30s for a week would kill ultra tropicals here. So remember, if "hardy" tropicals like a coconut palm can't survive long term, a breadfruit really won't even have a chance.

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NOT A TA
On 2/19/2021 at 9:18 AM, rfielding said:

I'd love to know more about the 30' in-ground tree in Lantana

It'll be a minute because the ambulance hauled him back to the hospital today.  He's a covid long hauler I guess, this being at least his 4th trip to the hospital I'm aware of over the past year.

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waykoolplantz

hope he recovers 

id interested in a couple of the breadfruit

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rfielding
6 hours ago, NOT A TA said:

It'll be a minute because the ambulance hauled him back to the hospital today.  He's a covid long hauler I guess, this being at least his 4th trip to the hospital I'm aware of over the past year.

Oh dear. Hoping for a positive outcome...

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chinandega81
15 hours ago, waykoolplantz said:

hope he recovers 

id interested in a couple of the breadfruit

Spyke's Grove and Tropical Nursery on Griffin Rd. in Davie also sells them.

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waykoolplantz
6 hours ago, chinandega81 said:

Spyke's Grove and Tropical Nursery on Griffin Rd. in Davie also sells them.

thanks..they are about a mile from me

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chinandega81
On 2/11/2021 at 10:57 AM, rfielding said:

Hello all, 

I'm a geographer based in South Carolina, but a Florida native, with an interest in breadfruit as a tool for food security. I'm especially interested in efforts to push the latitudinal boundaries of breadfruit, including the good work that many are doing to grow breadfruit in Florida. I'd love to hear from members of this forum on their efforts to grow breadfruit in Florida or other places where it's challenging. Feel free to reply here or email me directly at rfielding@coastal.edu. Thanks very much!

Russell Fielding
Coastal Carolina University 

Here is the 40 footer...

20210302_072235_HDR.jpg

20210302_072302_HDR.jpg

20210302_072352_HDR.jpg

20210302_072454.jpg

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chinandega81

Forgot to mention, the pics are from North Miami.

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waykoolplantz

thanks..about 15  blocks from myoffice in N Mia

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aabell

@rfielding Here's the biggest of several breadfruit trees planted at Fruitscapes Pine Island, taken today after a very cool but not especially cold (if you go by absolute low temp) winter. My first visit and I didn't get a chance to ask anyone how long it's been there.  Looks like it sustained major damage at one point, based on the trunk size it used to be quite a bit larger. 

20210323_112630.jpg

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rfielding
On 3/23/2021 at 10:06 PM, aabell said:

@rfielding Here's the biggest of several breadfruit trees planted at Fruitscapes Pine Island, taken today after a very cool but not especially cold (if you go by absolute low temp) winter. My first visit and I didn't get a chance to ask anyone how long it's been there.  Looks like it sustained major damage at one point, based on the trunk size it used to be quite a bit larger. 

 

Not bad for so far north! I'll reach out to Fruitscapes and will try to stop by when I'm in Fla. later this month. 

As for the northernmost, what about Bermuda??

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rfielding

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this conversation so far. I'm planning to be in South Florida next week (April 11-19) and would love to meet up with any breadfruit growers who are interested in showing me their trees. Feel free to drop me an email (rfielding@coastal.edu) if you might be available.

For what it's worth, I'm vaccinated.

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