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As one kind of Theobroma, cacao is a tall evergreen tree, which comes from the tropical Amazon in America. With little seasonality, the Cacao Tree grows in lowland tropical forests. The Banana or Casaca (Tapioca) or other large leaf, tree-like, grasses make up the heavy rainforest canopy, under which Cacao just grows. There are some requirements on the living environments: the temperature should be 21 to 32 degrees Celsius all the year round, which can not be under 15 C; the ranifall of every month should be more than 10 cm, and 100 to 250 cm the whole year. It can can not live above 1000 meters of elevation and it is better below 300 meters. These living environments require the cacao can only grow in the tropics. Thus, the places should only be within 10 degrees latitude of the Equator because there are not too much mountains, monsoons or droughts there.

The trunk and older branches can directly produce flowers which are small and 1-2cm diameter with pink calyx. After a flower, a large colourful pod grows near the tree, in which there are seeds. When the pod is maturing, it is green and then change to yellow, orange, red or purple when it is ripe (some varieties are still green when ripe). The pods differ from size, shape and texture. The length of pods could be 10 cm to greater than 40 cm. There are 5 to 10 veins or longitudinal ridges and the pods are round to oblong which look like America football. Fruits are produced the whole year, coinstantaneous with more flowering. After 4 to 5 months, the pob size can be achieved and it takes another month to be ripe. The length of ovoid cacao pod is 15C30 cm and the width is 8C10 cm. When the ovoid cacao pod are ripe, it weighs about 500g. There are 20 to 50 seeds covered by white pulp in the pod. The seed has great deal of fat. The obromine which is like caffeine is the most active element in the seed. The cocoa and chocolate are made from cacao seeds.

Cacao seeds have been consumed for a long time.The Maya held that the gods found the cacao in a mountain and then gave them to the Maya after human beings were created. Thus, an annual festival was celebrated by the Maya to thank the cacao god in April. A dog with cacao colored markings was sacrificed on the celebration, besides; there are also offerings of cacao, feathers and incense and the exchange of gifts.

Cacao seeds are both ritual beverage and currency system in the pre-Columbian age. 980 loads of cacao were received as part of gifts by the Aztec empire. There were 8000 cacao seeds in among each load. A new mantle can be bought by 80 to 100 seeds at that time. Some earas use cacao seeds as coins after 1840s.

It is konwn that the cacao was discovered firstly by Clombus in America. However, they didnt find how useful it is. At the beginning of 16th centuary, Cacao seeds were brought back to Spain and then there was cacao beverage later introduced to Spain. Gradually, the cacao and chocolate was sent to Western Europe such as France, German, and England etc. French companies even set up farms in Caribbean to grow cacao trees commercially because of the large demand of cacao.

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