Scientific Name Theobroma cacao
Common Name Cacao; Cocoa; Chocolate
Taxonomy ID 3641
Lineage cellular organisms > Viridiplantae > Streptophyta > Streptophytina > Embryophyta > Tracheophyta > Euphyllophyta > Spermatophyta > Magnoliophyta > Mesangiospermae > eudicotyledons > Gunneridae > Pentapetalae > rosids > malvids > Malvales > Malvaceae > Byttnerioideae > Theobroma
External Links NCBI;
Representative Assembly Criollo_cocoa_genome_V2 GCF_000208745.1 DNA GFF RNA Protein

Theobroma cacao is a perennial crop that is one of the most important for the tropics. The organism is native to the Americas - many indigenous Mesoamerican languages have words for the plant and its by-products. Archeologists have found evidence in pottery vessels from Honduras of cacao beverages being prepared and consumed as early as 1100 BC (Henderson et al.). Artifacts dating from AD 1000-1125 found in Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico contain cacao residues (Crown PL and Hurst WJ). The Spanish introduced the cacao tree to other tropical locations. Nearly 70% of the world crop is grown in West Africa. Despite the large commerce in cacao seeds for chocolate and cocoa, the leaves are poisonous.There are two groups of this organism: Forastero, exhibiting vigorous growth and disease resistance, and Criollo, exhibiting less vigorous growth but producing the highest quality cacao. The former is the source of approximately 95% of chocolate while most of the latter is grown in Venezuela. Genetic maps have been developed to enable more directed breeding efforts.