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Cacao Flower Name?
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theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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July 25, 2004 - 8:48 am
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Hello
I am back after a prolonged absence... have moved to China for a while. Anyhow, I have some more strange and esoteric questions:
What is the scientific name of the Cacao flower?
What is the common name of the Cacao flower (probably in spanish)?

I believe I have seen it referred to as a 'cotylid' or something, but this seems to be a shorthand name.
Anybody know?
thanks
kyle

Oh no! My Agustus!

Oh no! My Agustus!
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VonRock526
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August 28, 2004 - 9:53 pm
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The scientific name is :Theobroma Cacoa
The common name was I believe Criollo (which is now a scarcity due to witches broom, a fungus that attaches to the pod and is ruining many a harvest in the last three years)
Cotyledons are the purplish colored teeth that have the bitter taste to the nibs.

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Martin Christy
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August 30, 2004 - 12:22 pm
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Theobroma Cacao is, as I’m sure you all know, the name of the species of the tree that bears cacao pods, not just the flower. I can’t find any reference anywhere to a specific name for the flowers, though the manner in which they flower on the trunk and larger branches is known technically as 'cauliflory' (from Latin 'stem flower').

Recent thinking now recognises two sub-species: Theobroma Cacao sub-species Cacao (Criollo) and Theobroma Cacao subspecies Sphaerocarpum (Forestero). Sphaerocarpum was found by the Spanish in the Lower Amazon and had never previously been fermented, roast and ground to create chocolate. One could argue that it is not really chocolate at all, at least not the chocolate known to the Aztecs and Maya.

Varieties of Forestero have been widely adopted around the world in successive waves because of yield and supposed disease resistance. This has caused the decline of Criollo to around only 3% of current production. (Some would argue that only 30 tonnes of cacao with at least a 90% pure Criollo genotype are now produced in the entire world. Due to interbreeding, there is NO pure Criollo left!) Witches Broom has in fact effected Forestero production much more than Criollo, for instance removing Brazil as a major cocoa producing country.

I will make more enquiries about the flower name.

Martin Christy
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Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
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Polarbear
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August 30, 2004 - 5:02 pm
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Is the wide spread of the diseases result of industrial agriculture, breaking down the natural resistance of the plants, or is it a natural thing that so much is wiped out each year?

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
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theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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August 31, 2004 - 2:17 pm
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Hi
Thanks for the feedback... It was nice to get the species name for Forastero. According to our new Guinean member, there may be more distinct varieties... I'm no botanist, so maybe I'm in the wrong. The growers of cocoa mostly speak spanish, french, and perhaps some tribal languages, right? I wonder what the colloquial names are for the flower...
Does anyone know the names of the two varietes of midges that pollinate the flowers?
thanks
Kyle

Oh no! My Agustus!

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Martin Christy
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August 31, 2004 - 3:11 pm
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There are many varieties, but only the two sub-species and their cross, Trinitarios - probably.

Martin Christy
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alex_h
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September 21, 2004 - 2:01 pm
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i found this on amedei's website:

"The plant of the STERCULIACEE family is defined with the botanical name THEOBROMA CACAO L."

don't know whether this is any help.

i think your are referring to cotyledons or seed leaves. this is the definition i found in a dictionary (www.wordreference.com):

"embryonic leaf in seed-bearing plants"

hope you can get your hands on some good choc in china!

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chocolatero
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September 21, 2004 - 3:21 pm
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just to confuse people more
the flowers produce a pasty pollen that the wind can not really disperse. Both the structure of the flower and the absence of attractive subtance (nectar, aroma) lead to a pollinisation by things called in french "moucheron" of type forcipomya.

On the disease, I am not aware that it would be due to the impact of industrialisation. The producers of cocoa have changed massively though time both due to these diseases and also to political instability in many of these regions.
The book from O de Loisy called cacao et grands crus de chocolat (which I strongly recommend)has comparion of main producing countries through time.
Much of the current genetic reseach on cacao sponsored by big insudtrial croporations is around resistance to disease.

regards
Chocolatero

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alex_h
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September 21, 2004 - 4:13 pm
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isn't "moucheron" a mosquito?

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theobroma
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October 9, 2004 - 9:16 am
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Ah... good stuff. In summary:
So, I think 'midge' and 'moucheron' are common names for the 'forcipomya'.
And yes, the tree is Theobroma Cacao, hence my screen name!
It is good to know that cotyledons are "embryonic leaf in seed-bearing plants"
And these are caulifloriate, in that they grow right from the stem (or trunk!).
Regarding the midges/moucheron, a photo-journalist friend of mine did a story in south america at a cocoa plantation. As you may know, the rainforest is the best place for a cacao tree, as it needs shade and rich forest floor. Also, the midges need little pockets of nutrient-rich water in which to breed. On a plantation, which has no such floor, sustaining the midge population becomes problematic. The cacao producers here devised a clever solution: midge apartment buildings. They chopped down a few banana trees to expose multi-chambered trunks. The cell-chambers would collect water and some decaying plant matter, and so served as suitable breeding grounds for the midges.
Thanks for all the info
Kyle

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