Artocarpus heterophyllus or Jackfruit Tree is a tree of the family Moraceae, which grows very fast.
It probably came from the tropical forests of Ghats in India and is now widespread in Africa, South-east Asia, Brazil and Suriname for its large oblong fruit that weighs 4 to 30 kg, is 50-90 cm long and 20-50 cm wide. The fruit tastes like banana and contains up to 500 large brown seeds from 2 to 3 cm.
The leaves are dark green, shiny, leathery and stiff, fairly large (up to 16 cm long) and elliptical or oval. They are often deeply lobed on young shoots.
The flowers are monoecious, the male and female flowers appear on the same tree. They are on a short stem arising from the trunk and old branches. The male flowers are small and pale green, turning brown with age. Female flowers are larger, elliptical or circular, with a tubular calyx. They are pollinated by insects and wind with a high percentage of cross pollination.
Jaca, Jack, Jack Fruit, Jackfruit, Jackfruit Tree, Jak, Jak Fruit, Jak-Fruit, Langka, Nangka
Artocarpus maxima Blanco
Gomez Artocarpus heterophylla
Soccus arboreus major
NB: Artocarpus integer (syn. Artocarpus integrifolius) is not a synonym but another species
The fruit is called jackfruit or ti’jac (small jackfruit in Creole) and tastes like bananas. It is eaten raw or cooked into jam. The green fruits can be cooked as a vegetable in dishes.
The raw seeds are poisonous, they can be baked, boiled or roasted and eaten. They taste like chestnuts.
The young leaves are eaten as a vegetable and flower buds can be consumed.
The fruit can be macerated to make an alcoholic drink.
All parts of the tree contain latex which is used as glue. The latex is also used as chewing gum.
All parts of the tree are used for a variety of treatments.
The wood of the tree is moderately hard and is used in construction and for furniture and musical instruments. It is highly resistant to termites and rot. The wood looks like mahogany. The roots of old trees are highly valued for carving.
The trunk and branches are used as fuel.
The bark is used to make rope and fabric.
The leaves are used for food packaging.
The bark produces a yellow dye which is mainly used for dyeing the robes of Buddhist monks.
In India the flowers are offered to the god Vishnu and in Malabar the older branches are used for lighting a fire in religious rituals.
USDA zone 9, 0 °C
The aerial part dies at 15 °C, the plant dies at 0 °C
Tolerates a wide variety of soils such as limestone, sand, rock … but prefers a moderately fertile, well drained soil. Tolerates absolutely no standing water.
The fragrant blooms begin after 4-14 years and flowering takes place between March and September, depending on the region.
1 to 3 weeks, 6 weeks for less fresh seeds
Harvesting the seeds:
- each fruit contains 100 to 500 seeds
- the fruit is very sticky because of the latex it contains, therefore we recommend to lubricate the knife and hands with oil
- cut the fruit open and remove the seeds
- remove the thin, sticky film surrounding the seeds
- wash the seeds thoroughly to get rid of sticky residue and pulp
- select the largest seeds, they will germinate faster and produce stronger seedlings
- they can be dried for 1 hour, out of direct sunlight, to make them easier to handle but the seeds must never completely dry out because then they lose their germination power
- the seeds must be sown immediately after harvesting: they lose their ability to germinate very quickly. If necessary, they can be kept moist in a sealed plastic container or bag in the refrigerator for a few weeks
- choose the biggest seeds, they germinate faster and produce larger seedlings
- basically there is no need for treatment of the seeds before sowing but you may soak them 24 hours in a solution of diluted giberelline acid or hot water, it stimulates the germination
- sow in very permeable substrate (50% peat moss, perlite 25%, 25% vermiculite) at 2 cm depth, flat or with the hilum (the attachment point of the seed) pointed down
- do not let the tap root grow out of the bottom of the pot: it would be damaged during repotting
- after germination, water daily
- it is imperative to provide a porous substrate: the plant tolerates absolutely no standing water
- water daily during the growing period
- tolerates drought 3 to 4 months per year
- repot when you see the tap root grow out of the pot
- the plant has to overwinter indoors, he will not do well with less than 15 °C