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Member of :

GWAA

The Garden Writers Association


Last Update 06/03/08

Plant of the Month

Artocarpus heterophyllus

 Jackfruit, Jakfruit, Jaca, Nangka

Jackfruit is an evergreen tree native to India and the Malay Peninsula.  Of the family Moraceae it is cultivated in Florida as a novelty for its very large (up to 80 pounds) tree-born fruit. In India and other countries it is considered an important food providing tree.

Average sized fruits are 1-2 feet long, and 9-12" wide. Skin is green-yellow, with small spiky knobs, flesh is custard yellow with a banana-like flavor enclosing a smooth, oval, light-brown seed. The seed is 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. There may be 100 or up to 500 seeds in a single fruit. When fully ripe, the unopened jackfruit emits a strong disagreeable odor, resembling that of decayed onions, while the pulp of the opened fruit smells of pineapple and banana.

Jackfruit

Jackfruit, nature's largest fruit.

Click to enlarge

Young Jackfruit

Click to enlarge

Jackfruit tree

Young Jackfruit tree

Young Jackfruit tree

Plant Facts:

Common Name:  Jackfruit, Jakfruit, Jaca, Nangka

Botanical Name:  Artocarpus heterophyllus

Family:  Moraceae

Plant Type:  Evergreen tree

Origin: India and the Malay Penninsula

Zones: 11-12, good to 32F, lower temperatures may kill the tree

Height:  50' or more

Rate of Growth: Medium to fast

Salt Tolerance: Low

Soil Requirements:  Rich, deep soil with good drainage

Water Requirements: Water frequently during warm months and warm periods in cooler months. Less water is necessary during colder weather.

Nutritional Requirements: Fertilize twice yearly

Light Requirements: Full sun

Form:  Large well shaped tree

Leaves:  Oblong, oval, or elliptic in form, 4 to 6 inches in length, leathery, glossy, and deep green in color. Juvenile leaves are lobed.

Flowers: Male and female flowers are borne in separate flower-heads. Male flower-heads are on new wood among the leaves or above the female. They are swollen, oblong, from an inch to four inches long and up to an inch wide at the widest part. They are pale green at first, then darken. When mature the head is covered with yellow pollen that falls rapidly after flowering. The female heads appear on short, stout twigs that emerge from the trunk and large branches, or even from the soil-covered base of very old trees. They look like the male heads but without pollen, and soon begins to swell. The stalks of both male and female flower-heads are encircled by a small green ring.

Fruits: Average sized fruits are 1-2 feet long, and 9-12" wide. Skin is green-yellow, with small spiky knobs, flesh is custard yellow with a banana-like flavor enclosing a smooth, oval, light-brown seed. The seed is 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. There may be 100 or up to 500 seeds in a single fruit. When fully ripe, the unopened jackfruit emits a strong disagreeable odor, resembling that of decayed onions, while the pulp of the opened fruit smells of pineapple and banana.

Pests or diseases:  White fly

Uses:  Specimen plant, shade tree

Bad Habits: None

Cost:  $$ - $$$ -- reasonable to expensive.  Not widely available.

Propagation:   Seeds or air layering, seedlings difficult to transplant due to long tap root

Sources:   Morton, Julia F. Fruits of Warm Climates (out of print), Popenoe, Wilson. Manual of Tropical and Subtropical Fruits (out of print)

 
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