Breadfruit, engraving from Hawkesworth, vol. 2, plate 3, probably after a drawing by Sydney Parkinson, n.d. (ca. 1785). 

Breadfruit, engraving from Hawkesworth, vol. 2, plate 3, probably after a drawing by Sydney Parkinson, n.d. (ca. 1785). 

Breadfruit, which was a staple of many Polynesian diets, entered Pacific legend in the late eighteenth century as the cargo carried by Captain Bligh of the Bounty when his crew mutinied off the island of Tahiti. Bligh was carrying the breadfruit seedlings to the West Indies where, it was envisioned, they would provide an economical means of feeding African slaves. The first European description of the plant comes from Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, who saw it in the Marquesas in 1595 and who described it as bearing a green fruit about the size of a boy's head.