Cacao was named Theobroma, the word meaning food of the gods, because it’s seeds tasted so good. Mexicans named the pounded seeds “chocolate”. The tree is big, 3 to 5 meters high. when seeds are ripe they rattle in the fruit when shaken. each fruit contains about twenty-five seeds. In Mexico during the time of the Aztec kings the small seeds were used as coins, twelve to the value of 1d. the smallest actual coin in use then was worth about 6d. The seeds were necessary for small purchases. The method is still used in some parts of Mexico.
Theobroma cacao also cacao tree and cocoa tree, is a small (4–8 m (13–26 ft) tall) evergreen tree in the family Malvaceae, native to the deep tropical regions of Central and South America. Its seeds, cocoa beans, are used to make cocoa mass, cocoa powder, and chocolate.
Leaves are alternate, entire, unlobed, 10–40 cm (3.9–15.7 in) long and 5–20 cm (2.0–7.9 in) broad.
The flowers are produced in clusters directly on the trunk and older branches; this is known as cauliflory. The flowers are small, 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) diameter, with pink calyx. The floral formula is ✶ K5 C5 A(5°+5²) G(5). While many of the world's flowers are pollinated by bees (Hymenoptera) or butterflies/moths (Lepidoptera), cacao flowers are pollinated by tiny flies, Forcipomyia midges in the order Diptera. The fruit, called a cacao pod, is ovoid, 15–30 cm (5.9–11.8 in) long and 8–10 cm (3.1–3.9 in) wide, ripening yellow to orange, and weighs about 500 g (1.1 lb) when ripe. The pod contains 20 to 60 seeds, usually called "beans", embedded in a white pulp. The seeds are the main ingredient of chocolate, while the pulp is used in some countries to prepare refreshing juice, smoothies, jelly, and nata. The fermented pulp, until recently discarded in Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Peru, is now being distilled there into a popular alcoholic beverage sold in the United States (Forbes Magazine, TRAVEL 9/10/2014 "Cacao Cocktails: A New Tequila-Like Spirit Distilled From Cacao Fruit" by Katie Kelly Bell). Each seed contains a significant amount of fat (40–50%) as cocoa butter. Their most noted active constituent is theobromine, a compound similar to caffeine.
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