I’ve been waiting for a few months to feature this photograph from Dr. Chris Wolverton of Ohio Wesleyan University. Chris uploaded it via the BPotD Flickr Group Pool (original image – Chris, let me know if it’s not alright that I cropped it). Thanks for sharing the snapshot, Chris – much appreciated!
As to why I held off until today to feature it, the answer is in the specific epithet. This is fruit of the cacao plant; the seeds inside are processed to produce cocoa, cocoa butter and, when the two are combined with varying amounts of other ingredients, chocolate.
Presumed to be native to the equatorial mountainsides of the Andes, Theobroma cacao is now cultivated in many tropical regions of the world. The largest producer is the Ivory Coast, accounting for over 40% of production (but at a cost: see “War Inflates Cocoa Prices but Leaves Africans Poor”, an October 30, 2002 article from the New York Times).
For an excellent overview of the economic botany and history of chocolate, check out Exploratorium’s “The Sweet Lure of Chocolate”. And, as always, Purdue University’s Center for New Crops and Plant Products also has an informed account: Theobroma cacao.
Photography resource link: Views of the Northeast by Ana Licuanan features several galleries of images from the northeastern US. “Enchanted Forests” contains my favourites, but there are plenty of other gems to be found.