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Jackfruit tree with fruit
Scientific classification
Species:A. heterophyllus
Binomial name
Artocarpus heterophyllus
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Jackfruit tree with fruit
Scientific classification
Species:A. heterophyllus
Binomial name
Artocarpus heterophyllus

The jackfruit (alternately jack tree, jakfruit, or sometimes simply jack or jak; Artocarpus heterophyllus),[6] is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family (Moraceae). It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India, in present-day Kerala, coastal Karnataka and Maharashtra.[7] The jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands, and its fruit is the largest tree-borne fruit,[8] reaching as much as 80 pounds (36 kg) in weight, 36 inches (90 cm) in length, and 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter.[9]

The jackfruit tree is widely cultivated in tropical regions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Jackfruit is also found across Africa (e.g., in Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, and Mauritius), as well as throughout Brazil and in Caribbean nations such as Jamaica.


Multiple jackfruits hanging from the trunk

The word "jackfruit" comes from Portuguese jaca, which in turn, is derived from the Malayalam language term, chakka (Malayalam Chakka pazham : ചക്ക).[10] When the Portuguese arrived in India at Kozhikode (Calicut) on the Malabar Coast (Kerala) in 1498, the Malayalam name chakka was recorded by Hendrik van Rheede (1678–1703) in the Hortus Malabaricus, vol. iii in Latin. Henry Yule translated the book in Jordanus Catalani's (f. 1321–1330) Mirabilia descripta: the wonders of the East.[11]

The common English name "jackfruit" was used by the physician and naturalist Garcia de Orta in his 1563 book Colóquios dos simples e drogas da India.[12][13] Centuries later, botanist Ralph Randles Stewart suggested it was named after William Jack (1795–1822), a Scottish botanist who worked for the East India Company in Bengal, Sumatra, and Malaysia.[14] This could not be true, as the fruit was called a "jack" in English before William Jack was born: for instance, in Dampier's 1699 book, A New Voyage Round the World.[15][16] It is called 'Katahal' in Hindi, 'Pala-pazham' in Tamil(பலாப்பழம்), 'Panasa' in Telugu, 'Phanas' in Marathi and Gujarati, 'Halasu'(ಹಲಸು) in Karnatak, 'Nangka' in Indonesian, 'Fenesi' in Kiswahili and 'Ka-noon' in Thailand.

Cultivation and ecology[edit]

The jackfruit has played a significant role in Indian agriculture for centuries. Archeological findings in India have revealed that jackfruit was cultivated in India 3000 to 6000 years[clarification needed] ago. It is also widely cultivated in southeast Asia.

In other areas, the jackfruit is considered an invasive species as in Brazil's Tijuca Forest National Park in Rio de Janeiro. The Tijuca is mostly an artificial secondary forest, whose planting began during the mid-19th century, and jackfruit trees have been a part of the park's flora since its founding. Recently, the species expanded excessively because its fruits, once they had naturally fallen to the ground and opened, were eagerly eaten by small mammals such as the common marmoset and coati. The seeds are dispersed by these animals, which allows the jackfruit to compete for space with native tree species. Additionally, as the marmoset and coati also prey opportunistically on bird's eggs and nestlings, the supply of jackfruit as a ready source of food has allowed them to expand their populations, to the detriment of the local bird populations. Between 2002 and 2007, 55,662 jackfruit saplings were destroyed in the Tijuca Forest area in a deliberate culling effort by the park's management.[17]


Jackfruit are known for having a distinct aroma. In a study using five jackfruit cultivars, the main jackfruit volatile compounds that were detected are: ethyl isovalerate, 3-methylbutyl acetate, 1-butanol, propyl isovalerate, isobutyl isovalerate, 2-methylbutanol, and butyl isovalerate. These compounds were consistently present in all the five cultivars studied, suggesting that these esters and alcohols contributed to the sweet and fruity aroma of jackfruit.[18]


Jackfruit Flesh
Opened jackfruit

The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous and is a source of dietary fiber. The flavor is comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple, mango and banana.[19] Varieties are distinguished according to characteristics of the fruit's flesh. In Brazil, three varieties are recognized: jaca-dura, or the "hard" variety, which has a firm flesh and the largest fruits that can weigh between 15 and 40 kilograms each, jaca-mole, or the "soft" variety, which bears smaller fruits with a softer and sweeter flesh, and jaca-manteiga, or the "butter" variety, which bears sweet fruits whose flesh has a consistency intermediate between the "hard" and "soft" varieties.[20]

In Kerala, two varieties of jackfruit predominate: varikka (വരിക്ക) and koozha (കൂഴ). Varikka has a slightly hard inner flesh when ripe, while the inner flesh of the ripe koozha fruit is very soft and almost dissolving. A sweet preparation called chakka varattiyathu (jackfruit jam) is made by seasoning pieces of varikka fruit flesh in jaggery, which can be preserved and used for many months. Huge jackfruits up to four feet in length with a corresponding girth are sometimes seen in Kerala.[citation needed]

In West Bengal the two varieties are called khaja kathal and moja kathal. The fruits are either eaten alone or as a side to rice / roti / chira / muri. Sometimes the juice is extracted and either drunk straight or as a side with muri. The extract is sometimes condensed into rubbery delectables and eaten as candies. The seeds are either boiled or roasted and eaten with salt and hot chillies. They are also used to make spicy side-dishes with rice or roti.

In Mangalore, Karnataka, the varieties are called bakke and imba. The pulp of the imba jackfruit is ground and made into a paste, then spread over a mat and allowed to dry in the sun to create a natural chewy candy.

The young fruit is called polos in Sri Lanka and idichakka or idianchakka in Kerala.

Culinary uses[edit]

Jackfruit is commonly used in South and Southeast Asian cuisines.[19] It can be eaten raw when ripe, but as the raw unripe fruit is considered inedible, it is best cooked.[19]

Culinary uses for ripe fruit[edit]

Ripe jackfruit is naturally sweet with subtle flavoring. It can be used to make a variety of dishes, including custards, cakes, halo-halo and more. In India, when the Jackfruit is in season, an ice cream chain store called "Naturals" carries Jackfruit flavored ice cream.

Ripe jackfruit arils are sometimes seeded, fried or freeze-dried and sold as jackfruit chips.

The seeds from ripe fruits are edible, are said to have a milky, sweet taste, and may be boiled, baked or roasted. When roasted the flavor of the seeds is comparable to chestnuts. Seeds are used as snacks either by boiling or fire roasted, also used to make desserts. For making the traditional breakfast dish in southern India: idlis, the fruit is used along with rice as an ingredient and jackfruit leaves are used as a wrapping for steaming. Jackfruit dosas can be prepared by grinding jackfruit flesh along with the batter.

Developing jackfruit

Culinary uses for unripe fruit[edit]

The cuisines of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam use cooked young jackfruit.[19] In Indonesia, young jackfruit is cooked with coconut milk as gudeg. In many cultures, jackfruit is boiled and used in curries as a staple food. In northern Thailand, the boiled young jackfruit is used in the Thai salad called tam kanun. In West Bengal the unripe green jackfruit called "aechor" is used as a vegetable to make various spicy curries, side-dishes and as fillings for cutlets & chops. It is especially sought after by vegetarians who substitute this for meat and hence is nicknamed as gacch-patha (tree-mutton). In the Philippines, it is cooked with coconut milk (ginataang langka). In Réunion Island, it is cooked either alone or with animal flesh, such as shrimp or smoked pork. In southern India unriped Jackfruit slices are deep fried to make chips.

Because unripe jackfruit has a meat-like taste, it is used in curry dishes with spices, in Sri Lankan, Andhran, eastern-Indian (Bengali) and (Odisha) and Keralan cuisine. The skin of unripe jackfruit must be peeled first, then the remaining whole jackfruit can be chopped into edible portions and cooked before serving. Young jackfruit has a mild flavor and distinctive meat-like texture and is compared to poultry. Meatless sandwiches have been suggested and are popular with both vegetarian and nonvegetarian populations. Unripe jackfruit is widely known as Panasa Katha in Odisha.


Jackfruit, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy397 kJ (95 kcal)
Carbohydrates23.25 g
- Sugars19.08 g
- Dietary fiber1.5 g
Fat0.64 g
Protein1.72 g
Vitamin A equiv.5 μg (1%)
- beta-carotene61 μg (1%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin157 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1)0.105 mg (9%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)0.055 mg (5%)
Niacin (vit. B3)0.92 mg (6%)
Pantothenic acid (B5)0.235 mg (5%)
Vitamin B60.329 mg (25%)
Folate (vit. B9)24 μg (6%)
Vitamin C13.7 mg (17%)
Vitamin E0.34 mg (2%)
Calcium24 mg (2%)
Iron0.23 mg (2%)
Magnesium29 mg (8%)
Manganese0.043 mg (2%)
Phosphorus21 mg (3%)
Potassium448 mg (10%)
Sodium2 mg (0%)
Zinc0.13 mg (1%)
Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

The edible jackfruit is made of soft, easily-digestible flesh (bulbs); A portion of 100 g of edible raw jackfruit provides about 95 calories and is a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C, providing about 13.7 mg.[21] Jackfruit seeds are rich in protein.


In general, the seeds are gathered from the ripe fruit, sun-dried, then stored for use in rainy season in many parts of South Indian states. They are extracted from fully matured fruits and washed in water to remove the slimy part. Seeds should be stored immediately in closed polythene bags for one or two days to prevent them from drying out. Germination is improved by soaking seeds in clean water for 24 hours. During transplanting, sow seeds in line, 30 cm apart, in a nursery bed filled with 70% soil mixed with 30% organic matter.[22] The seedbed should be shaded partially from direct sunlight in order to protect emerging seedlings.

Boiled Jackfruit seed is also edible. Seasoned with nothing more than salt, this snack is very popular in Java.


Jackfruit tree

The wood of the tree is used for the production of musical instruments. In Indonesia, hardwood from the trunk is carved out to form the barrels of drums used in the gamelan, and in the Philippines its soft wood is made into the body of the kutiyapi, a type of boat lute. It is also used to make the body of the Indian string instrument veena and the drums mridangam and kanjira; the golden, yellow timber with good grains is used for building furniture and house construction in India. The ornate wooden plank called avani palaka made of the wood of jackfruit tree is used as the priest's seat during Hindu ceremonies in Kerala. In Vietnam, jackfruit wood is prized for the making of Buddhist statuaries in temples.[23]

Jackfruit wood is widely used in the manufacture of furniture, doors and windows, and in roof construction. The heartwood is used by Buddhist forest monastics in Southeast Asia as a dye, giving the robes of the monks in those traditions their distinctive light-brown color.[24]

Commercial availability[edit]

Outside of its countries of origin, fresh jackfruit can be found at Asian food markets, especially in the Philippines. It is also extensively cultivated in the Brazilian coastal region, where it is sold in local markets. It is available canned in sugar syrup, or frozen. Dried jackfruit chips are produced by various manufacturers. In northern Australia, particularly in Darwin, jackfruit can be found at outdoor produce markets during the dry season. Outside of countries where it is grown, jackfruit can be obtained year-round both canned or dried. It has a ripening season in Asia of late spring to late summer.[25]

Production and marketing[edit]

The marketing of jackfruit involved three groups: producers, traders (middlemen) including wholesalers, and retailers.[26] The marketing channels are rather complex. Large farmers sell immature fruits to wholesalers of which could help cash flow and reduces risk, whereas medium sized farmers sell fruits directly to local markets or retailers.

Cultural significance[edit]

The jackfruit is one of the three auspicious fruits of Tamil Nadu, along with the mango and banana, known as the mukkani (முக்கனி). These are referred to as ma-pala-vaazhai (mango-jack-banana). The three fruits (mukkani) are also related to the three arts of Tamil (mu-Tamizh).[27] Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh. It is also the state fruit of the Indian state of Kerala.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Under its accepted name Artocarpus heterophyllus (then as heterophylla) this species was described in Encyclopédie Méthodique, Botanique 3: 209. (1789) by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, from a specimen collected by botanist Philibert Commerson. Lamarck said of the fruit that it was coarse and difficult to digest. "Larmarck's original description of Artocarpus heterophylla". Retrieved November 23, 2012. "On mange la chair de son fruit, ainsi que les noyaux qu'il contient; mais c'est un aliment grossier et difficile à digérer." 
  2. ^ "Name - !Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ "TPL, treatment of Artocarpus heterophyllus". The Plant List; Version 1. (published on the internet). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden. 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Name - Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. synonyms". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ GRIN (November 2, 2006). "Artocarpus heterophyllus information from NPGS/GRIN". Taxonomy for Plants. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland: USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Artocarpus heterophyllus". Tropical Biology Association. page last updated October 2006. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  7. ^ Boning, Charles R. (2006). Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. p. 107. 
  8. ^ "Jackfruit, Breadfruit & Relatives". Know & Enjoy Tropical Fruit. 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  9. ^ "JACKFRUIT Fruit Facts". California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc. 1996. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  10. ^ T. Pradeepkumar; B. Suma Jyothibhaskar, K. N. Satheesan (2008). "Management of Horticultural Crops, Vol.11". In Prof. K. V. Peter. Horticulteral Science Series (New Delhi, India: Sumit Pal Jain for New India Publishing Agency). p. 81. ISBN (10) 81-89422-49-9 Check |isbn= value (help). "The English name jackfruit is derived from Portuguese jaca, which is derived from Malayalam chakka." 
  11. ^ Friar Jordanus, 14th century, as translated from the Latin by Henry Yule (1863). Mirabilia descripta: the wonders of the East. Hakluyt Society. p. 13. Retrieved November 23, 2012. 
  12. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, 1989, online edition
  13. ^ Anon. (2000) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition.
  14. ^ Ralph R Stewart (1984). "How Did They Die?". Taxon 33 (1): 48–52. 
  15. ^ William Dampier (1699). A new voyage round the world. J. Knapton. p. 320. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "jackfruits". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  17. ^ Livia de Almeida, "Guerra contra as jaqueiras" ("War on Jackfruit"), Revista Veja Rio, May the 5th.2007; see also [http:/,/www.jbrj.gov.br/enbt/posgraduacao/resumos/2008/rodolfo_de_abreu.htm]
  18. ^ Ong, B.T.; S.A.H. Nazimah, C.P. Tan, H. Mirhosseini, A. Osman, D. Mat Hashim, G. Rusul (NaN undefined NaN). "Analysis of volatile compounds in five jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus L.) cultivars using solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and gas chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOFMS)". Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 21 (5): 416–422. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2008.03.002. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c d The encyclopedia of fruit & nuts, By Jules Janick, Robert E. Paull, p. 155
  20. ^ General information, Department of Agriculture, State of Bahia. seagri.ba.gov.br (in Portuguese)
  21. ^ http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=11702&format=Full
  22. ^ Jackfruit Artocarpus heterophyllus. Field Manual for Extension Workers and Farmers. Southampton, UK: Southampton Centre for Underutilised Crops. 2006. ISBN 0854328343. 
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ Forest Monks and the Nation-state: An Anthropological and Historical Study in Northeast Thailand J.L. Taylor 1993 p. 218
  25. ^ Jackfruit. Hort.purdue.edu. Retrieved on 2011-10-17.
  26. ^ Haq, Nazmul (2006). Jackfruit: Artocarpus heterophyllus. Southampton, UK: Southampton Centre for Underutilised Crops. p. 129. ISBN 0854327851. 
  27. ^ Subrahmanian N, Hikosaka S, Samuel GJ (1997). Tamil social history. p. 88. Retrieved March 23, 2010. 

External links[edit]