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Cacao, Chocolate Tree

Some tropical plants produce flowers (and then fruits) from old woody tissue, such as the trunk and established branches, rather than at new growing tips. This phenomenon is called cauliflory, meaning “stem-flowering.”

An example of a cauliflorous plant is cacao, Theobroma cacao, the source of chocolate. The “pods” produced on its trunk and branches can grow to be almost as large as footballs. Each pod contains 30 to 40 beans that, when dried, ground, and mixed with sugar and other ingredients, make one of the world’s most delicious treats!

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