Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao)


Wool dyed with cacao
Uemera Dye Archive

A flavored powder obtained from the roasted seed kernels of the Theobroma cacao tree native to tropical America. Cocoa powder is used for chocolate flavoring. The seeds also contain a high proportion of oils called cocoa butter (see Theobroma oil). The dried powder has also been used as a brown fabic dye, through extraction with boiling water.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Cocao leaves (Theobroma cacao)

Theobroma cacao; cacao; chocolate

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Tree height = 4-8m (13-26Ft)
  • Unlobed leaves alternate; 10-40cm long and 2-10 cm broad
  • Flowers are small; 1-2 cm
  • Cocoa pods are ovoid 15-30 cm long and 8-10 cm wide; each pod contains 20-60 seeds

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 2522
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998