Tropical Fruit Point

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  • Common name: Jackfruit, jack tree
  • Scientific name: Artocarpus heterophyllus
  • Family name: Moraceae
  • Origin: South Asia and the Philippines
  • Height: 30 to 70 ft
  • Width: 20 to 50 ft
  • Growth: Somewhat fast
  • Zone: USDA zones 10-12
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • Salt tolerance: Low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Will grow in well-drained, moist soils of various textures. Prefer a pH between 5.5 and 7.5.
  • Moisture: Prefer humid environments. Soil should be kept consistently moist.
  • Drought tolerance: Mature plants can handle short periods of drought, but young plants have poor drought tolerance.
  • Pests/Diseases: Wood boring insects, scale, mealybugs, and fruit rot may occasionally pose a threat.
  • Growing conditions: Should be grown in a warm, sunny, humid area. Young plants should have some shade but will need more and more sun as they mature. Although mature plants can survive a light frost, they do not tolerate temperatures below 28 degrees F. Young trees should be watered regularly, while mature trees should only be watered while fruit is developing and during droughts. Mature trees should be fertilized 2-3 times throughout the year. For the best fruit production, fruit-bearing branches should be cut back after harvest.
  • Characteristics: This large tree is generally anywhere between 30 and 70 ft tall but has been recorded to reach over 90 ft tall. The trunk is thick and reddish brown, with parts of the bark flaking off to reveal red inner bark. Leaves are evergreen, glossy, oval-shaped, and may be up to 9 inches long on mature trees. Stems and leaves produce a sticky white latex. The plant has distinct male and female flowers – male flowers are on new growth and are covered with pollen, while female flowers tend to be on old growth and lack pollen. Both flowers are green and somewhat inconspicuous. Fruits are composed of several female flowers and are extremely large, weighing between 10 and 60 pounds. The skin of the fruit is yellow and thick with a scaly texture. The flesh is sweet and edible.
  • Propagation: By seed, root cuttings, or air layering. Seed is the most common method, as the plants readily germinate and are ready to bear fruit in as little as 3 years.
  • Wildlife: Mammals readily eat the fruit. In India, elephants love jackfruit and will eagerly seek it out, travelling miles to find it.
  • Facts: It is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world. It is used in many different dishes in Southeast Asian cuisines and has become a staple in other cultures around the world. Flesh from immature fruits has a meat-like texture and taste and is therefore used in many savory dishes as a meat substitute. Mature fruit is sweeter and tends to be used in desserts and sweet dishes.
  • Designer considerations: Its height, appearance, and unique fruit make it a common landscape specimen for tropical and subtropical gardens. Be careful not to place it too close to a walkway or bench, as falling jackfruit can cause bodily harm. Instead, it should be placed on its own where it can be admired from a distance.