The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus
), also known as jack tree, is a species of tree in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family. Its origin is in the region between the Western Ghats of southern India and the rainforests of Malaysia.
The jack tree is well-suited to tropical lowlands, and is widely cultivated throughout tropical regions of the world. It bears the largest fruit of all trees, reaching as much as 55 kg (120 pounds) in weight, 90 cm (35 inches) in length, and 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter
Jackfruit is a tree which is unique in the fact that it produced huge fruits directly from its stem. Jackfruit is most probably native of the rain-forests of the Western Ghats. In fact, the name Jackfruit is derived from the malayalam name chakka
. The tree is handsome and stately, 30-70 ft tall, with evergreen, alternate, glossy, somewhat leathery leaves to 9 in long, oval on mature trees, sometimes oblong or deeply lobed on young shoots. All parts contain a sticky, white latex. Short, stout flowering twigs emerge from the trunk and large branches, or even from the soil-covered base of very old trees. Tiny male flowers are borne in oblong clusters 2-4 in in length; the female flower clusters are elliptic or rounded. Largest of all tree-borne fruits, the jackfruit may be 8-to 3 ft long and 6-20 in wide, and the weight ranges from 10-50 kg. The "rind' or exterior of the compound or aggregate fruit is green or yellow when ripe and composed of numerous hard, cone-like points attached to a thick and rubbery, pale yellow or whitish wall. The interior consists of large "bulbs" of yellow, banana-flavored flesh, massed among narrow ribbons of thin, tough undeveloped perianths, and a central, pithy core. Each bulb encloses a smooth, oval, light-brown "seed" covered by a thin white membrane. 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.
The ashes of leaves, with or without oil, are used to treat ulcers, diarrhoea, boils, stomach-ache and wounds. The pulp and seeds of the fruit are regarded as a cooling tonic. The seeds are said to be an aphrodisiac. The sap is an anti-syphilitic and a vermifuge. The wood is claimed to have sedative properties, and its pith is said to be able to induce abortion