Jackfruit – Largest Tree-Borne Fruit
Jackfruit is the largest fruit that grows on trees, but not on the branches. The fruit grows on the main trunk of the tree because it’s too heavy for the branches. A single jackfruit can weigh over 36 kilograms. The jackfruit tree is also very large and looks something like a large oak tree. It grows in the warm regions of Asia. There are many varieties of jackfruit, for example, Black Gold, Galaxy, and Honey Gold. The big jackfruit contains many seeds surrounded by the pulp, so each seed is a separate fruit. Young jackfruits are green, but they turn brownish yellow when ripe. Raw jackfruit is cooked, sweet pulp can be eaten fresh, seeds also can be eaten.
The wood is used for making furniture. Dried jackfruit leaves are used as fuel for cooking fires.
Asians generally like to plant jackfruit trees near the house, because they believe it is a symbol of luck, health and wealth.
When the jackfruit is ripe, it breaks. The name jackfruit came from a word in one of the dialects of the south of India meaning big and round. The native lands of the jackfruit are India and Bangladesh. Now it is most common in South-East Asia and the Philippines, and people also plant it in eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda), on the islands of Oceania. In South India, the area of its plantations is 26 000 hectares. In Sri Lanka (4 452 hectares) it is grown mainly for wood.
The tree is monoecious. Male and female flowers are plain, collected in same-sex inflorescences. It takes 5-6 months from flowering to full ripening. Flowers are pollinated by wind and insects, but the jackfruit is often pollinated by hand. Up to 300 fruits can be grown on one tree every year. The peel and seeds of the ripe fruit have a strong unpleasant odor, while the pulp smells nice, like a mixture of banana and pineapple.