Post PNG

Papua New Guinea

27 May 2020


Papua New Guinea: Breadfruit, 27 May 2020. Images from Post PNG.

Technical Specifications:

STAMP SIZE: 40mm x 30mm
SHEETLET SIZE: 115mm x 75mm
DENOMINATION: K1.60, K2.50, K3.45 & K10
FORMAT: Horizontal
COLOURSL Full Colour Process
PAPERL Tullis Russel Non Phosphor 104 gsm
GUM: Unwatered mark, PVA Gummed
PRINTING TECHNIQUE: Multicolour Offset, Lithography
DESIGNER: Post PNG Philatelic Production
PRINTER: Henan Post Printing – CN
ISSUE DATE: 27th May, 2020
WITHDRAWAL DATE: 27th May, 2021


Breadfruit is believed to have originated in New Guinea and the Indo-Malay region and was spread throughout the vast Pacific by voyaging islanders. Europeans discovered breadfruit in the 1500s and were amazed and delighted by a tree that produced prolific, starchy fruits that, when roasted, resembled freshly baked bread. Breadfruit has long been a staple food in the Pacific islands and is now widely distributed and used throughout the tropics, as is a related species known as breadnut.

There are two species of breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis and A. Mariannensis). The importance and use of breadfruit differs in various Pacific island groups on methods of preparation and traditional techniques to preserve the fruits.

Breadfruit is a member of genus Mulberry. It is one of the most staple food to the people in the tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Breadfruit trees can be found in regions like Micronesia, Hawaii, Caribbean, Western Pacific islands and Malay Peninsula. South-east Asian Breadfruit tree has dark-green foliage with leaves growing about 3 feet long. When breadfruit is cooked, it tastes just like potato. Many describe the taste to be similar to fresh baked bread which hints at the choice of the name ‘Breadfruit’.

Breadfruits are used for a lot of purposes. The fruit as well as the leaves and latex of its tree work as a natural medicine for curing diseases like skin infections, Diarrhoea, Asthma, Diabetes and Sciatica. It can be consumed as a fruit and also cooked as a vegetable. The seeds of Breadfruit can also be used for consumption. The leaves of Breadfruit grow over one foot long and so they can be used to provide shade. Breadfruit leaves are used in African regions for decoration purposes.

Traditionally, Breadfruit is a multipurpose species and all parts of the tree are used. It is an essential component of home gardens and traditional agro-forestry systems, creating a lush over story that shelters a wide range of cultivated and native plants. In the Pacific, breadfruit agro-forests have protected mountain slopes from erosion for more than two millennia.

The trees have a beneficial impact on the natural environment creating organic mulch, shade, and a cooler micro-climate beneath the canopy. They give shelter and food to important pollinators and seed dispersers such as honeybees, birds, and fruit bats. A breadfruit tree yields food, construction materials, medicine, cordage, glue, insect repellent, and animal feed.

The trunk of a breadfruit tree may be as large as 2 meters in diameter and grow to a height of 4 meters before branching. The wood is light and durable with a light golden color that darkens with age. It is used for the construction of houses and canoes because it resists termites and marine worms. The hulls of outrigger canoes are often fashioned from a single log and are still made in parts of Micronesia and Melanesia. The wood is carved into attractive bowls, statues, handicrafts, furniture, and other items. Older trees are an important source of firewood, especially on the atoll islands.

The inner bark, or bast, can be made into bark cloth. In the Pacific, islanders chose branches with new growth and remove the outer bark. After separating the brown outer bark from the white inside bark, the white bark is beaten on a smooth stone to spread it. After the beating process is complete, the bark has become a soft, fibrous cloth that is colored with natural dyes. The inner bark is also traditionally used to make a strong cordage used for building and fishing. The leaves are used as fans, sandpaper for fine woodwork, to wrap foods that are cooked in traditional earth ovens, and as biodegradable plates.

Sticky white latex is present in all parts of the tree and has been used for glue, caulk, and even chewing gum. Bees are attracted to and harvest droplets of latex from the surface of the fruit. Bird catchers smeared the latex onto branches to entrap saffron-feathered honeycreepers.

The breadfruit tree is an important part of the native pharmacopoeia in the Pacific Islands. The latex is massaged into the skin to treat broken bones and sprains and is bandaged on the spine to relieve sciatica. Crushed leaves are commonly used to treat skin ailments and fungus diseases such as ‘thrush’. Diluted latex is taken internally to treat diarrhea, stomach aches, and dysentery. The sap from the crushed stems of leaves is used to treat ear infections or sore eyes. The root is an astringent and used as a purgative; when macerated it is used as a poultice for skin ailments. The bark is also used to treat headaches in several islands. In the West Indies, the yellowing leaf is brewed into tea and taken to reduce high blood pressure and to relieve asthma. The tea is also thought to control diabetes.


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