Many flowers, few fruits: Pollen limitation in wild and cultivated Theobroma cacao


As I slid down the steep slope, trying to use roots, trunks, and small stones to slow my passage and steer my course, I saw it. The sight brought me up short despite gravity’s insistence that I should tumble down the hillside. 

It was not imposing like the Ceibas, which can tower at an astonishing 70 meters tall (as much as a 13 story building), nor was it miraculously beautiful like the matapalo’s twisting, vine-like trunk. It was ordinary and would be easily overlooked by untrained eyes. However, this was my first glimpse of Theobroma cacao, of a truly wild variety in a natural setting, and for that, I was stunned into silence. 

Emily Kearney
Publication date: 
November 3, 2014
Publication type: 
Student Research