Tropical Plant Guide: On the Search for Cacao

November 15, 2017

cacao pod ecuador source trip

For this cacao sourcing trip, our Marketing Director, Becca, found herself in the rainforests of Ecuador. Read about the tropics that are home to cacao, as well as many other plants!

On a recent trip to Ecuador, I was overwhelmed by the amount of biodiversity found on cacao farms. So many different plant and bird species coexisting in the beautiful Amazon rainforest. Farmers use fruits and vegetables they grow in both their homes and also to sell in local markets.

Cacao grows alongside hardwood trees, medicinal plants, and fruit trees. The plant prefers humid climates with rich soil. Surrounding tropical fruits often contribute to the flavor profiles of the cacao itself.

Some of the plants you might find on cacao farms in Ecuador:

chili peppers

Chili Peppers

orange

Oranges

cacao pod

Theobroma Cacao

hibiscus

Hibiscus Flower

jaimaica

Jaimaica Flower

starfruit

Star Fruit

Dragon Fruit

flower

Ornamental Flowers

zopote

Sapote

lemon

Wild Lemons

borojo

Borojo

pineapple

Pineapple

achote

Achote

gaurds

Gourds

chonta

Chonta

nettle

Mint

palm heart

Palm Heart

coffee

Coffee

cilantro leaf

Culantro Leaf

seed for jewelry

Seeds 

vanilla

Vanilla 

frutipan

Bread Fruit

 

sugar cane

Sugar Cane

lime

Lime

guave

Pink Guava

hoja de canela

Cinnamon Leaf

 

banana

Bananas

seeds

Seeds

bicolor

Jaguar Fruit

 

onion

Green Onions

papaya

Papaya