Theobroma speciosum
Flowers of T. speciosum in bud and in bloom
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Theobroma
T. speciosum
Binomial name
Theobroma speciosum
  • Theobroma quinquenervium Bernoulli
  • Theobroma speciosum var. coriaceum Huber
  • Theobroma speciosum var. quinquenervium (Bernoulli) K.Schum.
  • Theobroma subincanum Spruce ex Sagot

Theobroma speciosum is an arboriform species of flowering plant in the mallow family native to northern South America. It is the 35th most abundant species of tree in the Amazon rainforest.[3]


Specific epithet

The specific epithet 'speciosum' is used to indicate that a plant is aesthetically pleasing;[4] it is a neuter form of 'speciosus',[5] which is Latin for 'beautiful'.[6]

Common names

Theobroma speciosum has a number of common names:[7]


Theobroma speciosum is an evergreen tree that grows up to 15 m (49 ft) tall.[9] The trunk is straight,[7] with plagiotropic (horizontally growing)[10] side branches.[11] The canopy is small.[7] Its leaves are simple, and have a coriaceous (leather-like)[12] surface with trichomes (hairs).[11][13] Leaf arrangement is distichous (leaves alternate between one side of the stem and the other).[11][14] Flowers are red,[15] and grow on the trunk in dense clusters.[7][16] Fruits are 10 cm (3.9 in) in length, and comprise approximately 20 seeds surrounded by a white flesh,[7] which in turn is surrounded by a capsule.[11]


Theobroma speciosum is native to:[2]


.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{box-sizing:border-box;width:100%;padding:5px;border:none;font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .hidden-title{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.6;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .hidden-content{text-align:left}You can help expand this section with text translated from the corresponding article in Portuguese. (April 2021) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the Portuguese article. Machine translation, like DeepL or Google Translate, is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 1,485 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing Portuguese Wikipedia article at [[:pt:Cacauí]]; see its history for attribution. You should also add the template ((Translated|pt|Cacauí)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.

The fruit of T. speciosum is a food source for primates and rodents.[17] Its flowers are pollinated by flying insects.[18]


The fruit of T. speciosum is the third from the left.


The flesh of the fruit of is eaten by the Ka'apor and Tacana peoples.[19] The seeds are used to make chocolate,[13] and could also be used to make cocoa butter substitutes.[20]

The flowers are edible, and contain high concentrations of antioxidants.[21]


The fruit capsules can be used to make soap and deodorant.[19]

Genetic resource

As a crop wild relative,[22] T. speciosum could be used as a source of genetic variability for T. cacao,[17] which is widely cultivated for its cocoa beans.


T. speciosum is occasionally grown in gardens as an ornamental plant.[3][23]


Colletotrichum luxificum, a species of pathogenic fungus,[24] can cause witch's broom disease in Theobroma speciosum.[25][26]


  1. ^ Theobroma speciosum Willd. ex Spreng. is not to be confused with Theobroma speciosum Willd. ex Mart., a synonym of Theobroma grandiflorum (Willd. ex Spreng.) K.Schum., which is a different species of Theobroma.[1]


  1. ^ "Theobroma speciosum Willd. ex Mart". Plants of the World Online. Kew Science. Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  2. ^ a b "Theobroma speciosum Willd. ex Spreng". Plants of the World Online. Kew Science. Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  3. ^ a b Levis, C.; Costa, F. R. C.; Bongers, F.; Peña-Claros, M.; Clement, C. R.; Junqueira, A. B.; Neves, E. G.; Tamanaha, E. K.; Figueiredo, F. O. G.; Salomão, R. P.; Castilho, C. V. (2017-03-03). "Persistent effects of pre-Columbian plant domestication on Amazonian forest composition". Science. 355 (6328): 925–931. Bibcode:2017Sci...355..925L. doi:10.1126/science.aal0157. hdl:10871/31028. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 28254935. S2CID 206654277. See Supplementary Materials, Table S2.
  4. ^ Hecklau, Edmund F.; Mori, Scott A.; Brown, John L. (2005). "Specific Epithets of the Flowering Plants of Central French Guiana". Brittonia. 57 (1): 68–87. doi:10.1663/0007-196X(2005)057[0068:SEOTFP]2.0.CO;2. ISSN 0007-196X. JSTOR 4099040. S2CID 22235597.
  5. ^ Baker, R. E. D.; Sandwith, N. Y. (1953). "Review of The Gender of Theobroma". Kew Bulletin. 8 (4): 591. doi:10.2307/4117388. ISSN 0075-5974. JSTOR 4117388.
  6. ^ "Definition of specious". Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  7. ^ a b c d e Souza, M. S.; Venturieri, G. A. (July–August 2010). "Floral Biology of Cacauhy (Theobroma speciosum - Malvaceae)" (PDF). Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology. 53 (4): 861–872. doi:10.1590/S1516-89132010000400016.
  8. ^ a b Colli-Silva, M.; Pirani, J. R. (2020). "Theobroma in Flora do Brasil 2020". Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  9. ^ "Theobroma speciosum Willd. ex Spreng". Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  10. ^ "Definition of plagiotropic". Oxford University Press. 2020. Retrieved 2021-04-03.[dead link]
  11. ^ a b c d Klitgård, Bente B. (2013). "Neotropical Malvaceae (Byttnerioideae). In: Milliken, W., Klitgård, B. & Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics". Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  12. ^ "Definition of coriaceous". Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  13. ^ a b Garcia, Tarcymara Barata; Potiguara, Raimunda Conceição de Vilhena; Kikuchi, Tatiani Yuriko Souza; Demarco, Diego; Aguiar-Dias, Ana Cristina Andrade de (September 2014). "Leaf anatomical features of three Theobroma species (Malvaceae s.l.) native to the Brazilian Amazon". Acta Amazonica. 44 (3): 291–300. doi:10.1590/1809-4392201300653. ISSN 0044-5967.
  14. ^ "Definition of distichous". Oxford University Press. 2020. Archived from the original on August 24, 2022. Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  15. ^ "Cocoa Genebank" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  16. ^ Sharma, Santosh Kumar (June 2011). "Cauliflory & Cannonball tree" (PDF). NISCAIR Online Periodicals Repository. Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  17. ^ a b Barbosa, Lucinéia; Isadora; Hernández Ruz, Emil (2019-09-25). "Primer registro de la dispersión de frutos de Theobroma speciosum". Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales. 43 (168): 518–520. doi:10.18257/raccefyn.891. ISSN 2382-4980.
  18. ^ Young, Allen M.; Erickson, Barbara J.; Erickson, Eric H. (1989). "Pollination biology of Theobroma and Herrania (Sterculiaceae)—III. Steam-distilled floral oils of Theobroma species as attractants to flying insects in a Costa Rican cocoa plantation*". International Journal of Tropical Insect Science. 10 (1): 93–98. doi:10.1017/S1742758400003404. ISSN 0191-9040. S2CID 87003929.
  19. ^ a b Dardengo, Juliana De Freitas Encinas; Rossi, Ana Aparecida Bandini; Silva, Bruna Mezzalira da; Silva, Ivone Vieira da; Silva, Carolina Joana da; Sebbenn, Alexandre Magno (2016-07-01). "Diversity and spatial genetic structure of a natural population of Theobroma speciosum (Malvaceae) in the Brazilian Amazon". Revista de Biología Tropical. 64 (3): 1091–1099. doi:10.15517/rbt.v64i3.21461. ISSN 2215-2075. PMID 29461785.
  20. ^ Gilabert‐Escrivá, M. Victoria; Gonçalves, Lireny A. G.; Silva, C. Rogério S.; Figueira, Antonio (2002). "Fatty acid and triacylglycerol composition and thermal behaviour of fats from seeds of Brazilian Amazonian Theobroma species". Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 82 (13): 1425–1431. Bibcode:2002JSFA...82.1425G. doi:10.1002/jsfa.1107. ISSN 1097-0010.
  21. ^ Moreira Mar, Josiana; Souza da Silva, Laiane; Picanço Moreira, Wagner; Moraes Biondo, Matheus; Lada Degaut Pontes, Flávia; Ramos Campos, Francinete; Ferreira Kinupp, Valdely; Henrique Campelo, Pedro; Aparecido Sanches, Edgar; de Araújo Bezerra, Jaqueline (2021-03-29). "Edible flowers from Theobroma speciosum: aqueous extract rich in antioxidant compounds". Food Chemistry. 356: 129723. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2021.129723. ISSN 0308-8146. PMID 33845252.
  22. ^ Giustina, L. D.; Luz, L. N.; Vieira, F. S.; Rossi, F. S.; Soares-Lopes, C. R. A.; Pereira, T. N. S.; Rossi, A. A. B. (2014). "Population structure and genetic diversity in natural populations of Theobroma speciosum Willd. Ex Spreng (Malvaceae)" (PDF). Genetics and Molecular Research. 13 (2): 3510–3519. doi:10.4238/2014.February.14.5. PMID 24615108.
  23. ^ Dardengo, Juliana De Freitas Encinas; Rossi, Ana Aparecida Bandini; Varella, Tatiane Lemes (2017-12-13). "The effects of fragmentation on the genetic structure of Theobroma speciosum (Malvaceae) populations". Revista de Biología Tropical. 66 (1): 218. doi:10.15517/rbt.v66i1.27904. ISSN 2215-2075.
  24. ^ Hyde, K. D.; Cai, L.; McKenzie, E. H. C.; Yang, Y. L.; Zhang, J. Z.; Prihastuti, H. (December 2009). "Colletotrichum: A catalogue of confusion". Fungal Diversity. 39: 1–17 – via ResearchGate.
  25. ^ "Fungus Notes: Coco-Nut and Cacao Diseases". Agricultural News. 14: 30. 16 January 1915 – via Biodiversity Heritage Library.
  26. ^ Evans, H. C.; Bezerra, J. L.; Barreto, R. W. (2013). "Of mushrooms and chocolate trees: aetiology and phylogeny of witches' broom and frosty pod diseases of cacao". Plant Pathology. 62 (4): 728–740. doi:10.1111/ppa.12010. ISSN 1365-3059.