Cacao Tree : Overview

Cacao Tree

The Cacao Tree located at the UVM Main Campus Greenhouse Complex. Zevin, Rachel A. (2013)

            Have you ever bitten into a chocolate bar and thought, ‘I wonder where this came from?’ If you have not, that is okay, as I am sure it was just the delicious taste that distracted you. Never fear, for I will give you an introduction to the many facets of the cacao tree, the tree that produces the cocoa beans used to make chocolate.

            I will explain the characteristics of Cacao trees, and how they live a very different life cycle then deciduous trees you might see in the northeast United States. Next, I will detail the funguses, viruses and various pests that harm cacao trees. This section is meant for people who enjoy science and bugs as much as I do. If that’s not your cup of tea (or hot cocoa) then feel free to skip over it. In the following section, I will talk about the culture behind the cacao tree in Mesoamerica, which stretched from Southern Mexico down through Central America. Finally, I will explain the impacts chocolate trade has on Western Africa. Cacao plantations in Western Africa hold some of the worst labor conditions of any trade. Don’t fear, because I will show you alternative brands of chocolate so you can get your tasty fix without any guilt.

            This exhibit is meant to be a very detailed introduction to the cacao tree. If you would like to find out more about the tree, I urge you to check out my sources and read those for more information. So now grab a piece of chocolate, hopefully Fair Trade, and feel free to munch on it while reading about the interesting tree behind it all, the Cacao Tree.