The genuine cocoa
tree is a small and handsome evergreen tree , growing in South America
and the West Indies
, from 12 to 25 feet high ,and branching at the top ; when cultivated it is not allowed to grow so high The stem is erect , straight , 4 to 6 feet high ; the wood light and white; the bark thin , somewhat smooth and brownish . The seeds are numerous , compressed, 1 inch long , reddish-brown externally , dark-brown internally , and imbedded in a whitish , sweetish , buttery pulp .
This tree was extensively cultivated in Mexico , Central and South America for many years, indeed long before the discovery of America , and at one time formed the currency of the natives , who made an immense consumption of it in various ways . At present it is chiefly cultivated in Brazil , Costa Rica , Guayaquil , Ecuador , Venezuela , Peru , Guatemala the island of Trinidad and most of the other West India Island ; also in Africa , Ceylon , Samoa and other parts of the globe .