Opening/Closure Status

All outdoor gardens are currently open. The Conservatory and public restrooms remain closed, due to the closure of the U.S. Capitol campus buildings. Please monitor for updates on operating status. USBG resources can be accessed online, including educational materials, virtual tours, and online programs by visiting

Cacao seed pods

Cacao Pods (Theobroma cacao)
Plant Botanical Name: 
Theobroma cacao
USBG Plant Location: 
Conservatory Room Location: 
Garden Court
Light shade
Plant Moisture Requirements: 
evenly moist

Cacao pods are most famous for being the source of chocolate, and the Latin name Theobroma is derived from the Greek for "food of the gods." Each cacao pod weighs about a pound, is shaped like a football and contain between 20 and 60 lima bean-sized seeds. The pods grow close to the trunk of the cacao tree and change color as they ripen.