The Theobroma Cacao tree is a native of the South American Basins, deep in the rainforests. It produces flowers that grow directly on the trunk or on old branches of the tree. These flowers appear in clusters and while most plants and flowers that are pollinated by bees, birds and butterflies, this particular flower is pollinated by tiny flies called midges.
After pollination occurs a fruit called ” cacao pod” is produced, it contains up to 20-60 seeds in each pod that is produced. During the maturing and ripening stage, the pods change from green in colour to yellow-orange, a red or purple colour once it is fully ripened. Also with the colour change during maturity, the pods change and vary in size, shape and texture. Their sizes usually range between 10cm-40cm in length and they mostly resemble an American football; just to give you and idea of how they look.
Maturing Cacao Pods
Ripened Cacao Pods
Three Variations of Cacao Pods
The seeds are the main ingredient of chocolate while the pulp that surrounds them is often used to make juice in certain countries. The seeds are normally white in colour but as the drying process happens they change colour.
Seeds while in the pod.
Dried Cacao Seeds.