Cocoa Tree (കൊക്കോ)

Scientific Name: Theobroma cacao L.

Synonyms: Cacao minar Gaertn., Cacao minus Gaertn.  


Unique ID: 158

Systematic Position

Class: Dicotyledonae

Sub Class: Polypetalae                        

Series: Thalamiflorae

Order: Malvales

Family: Malvaceae

Common Names

English – Cacao, Cocoa tree

Malayalam – കൊക്കോ



Description: 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, used to represent the structure of a flower using numbers, 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 subfamily Forcipomyiinae. Using the natural pollinator Forcipomyia midges for Theobroma cacao was shown to have more fruit production than using artificial pollinators. 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. 


Habitat: Widely cultivated

Distribution: Native to the deep tropical regions of Mesoamerica

Uses: Chocolate industry