“What? There’s a chocolate tree growing in Tucker greenhouse?”

leaves

These are new leaves of the Theobroma cacao tree, a member of the Malvaceae family…..The tree is small, about three meters tall, and grows in the dense shade of the tropical room on the north end.

white flowers

Flower clusters can be seen on the Theobroma cacao trunk.

The Tucker Greenhouse cacao tree has just started to bloom. The blooms occur all along the trunk of the tree and on some of the larger branches. Once pollinated, the white flowers produce a chocolate ‘bean’ or pod. When these beans are harvested, dried and cured, the insides are used to make dark chocolate. YUM!