Artocarpus heterophyllus

Family name: Moraceae (Mulberry family)
Common name : Jackfruit, Jackfruit tree . • Hindi: कटहल Katahal, कठल Kathal • Manipuri: থৈবোং Theibong • Marathi: फणस Phanas • Tamil: பலா Palaa • Malayalam: ചക്ക Chakka • Telugu: పనస Panas • Kannada: Halasina hannu • Bengali: কাঁঠাল Kathal • Oriya: ପନସ Panas

Jackfruit is a handsome tree that can grow up to 9-21 m (70 ft) tall, with evergreen, alternate, glossy and leathery leaves to 22.5 cm (9 in) in length. Jack fruit is one of the largest edible fruit of the world. The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), an indigenous fruit tree of south India, is popular in the Southeast Asian region where not only is the fruit consumed but also its seeds. The tree possesses one of the most popular and most important fruit of India. The tree came from the Moraceae family.Jack Fruit tree is cultivated widely in western region of India. In the other places including the warmer provinces of India, Burma and Sri Lanka, it is cultivated and grows naturally as well.

Jack Fruit tree has a solid crown of dark green leaves and the fruits and they hang from the branches, from the trunk and even on the roots of older trees. They look like massive and unattractive parasites. The rapidly growing tree has variation in its size depending upon the characteristics of soil. It grows high and spreads well in the sandy soil. In stony soil, it cannot grow tall and remain short and thick and in other places where the roots have contact with the water, the tree remains fruitless. The colour of the bark of the tree is grey-brown and rough. Moreover, the leaves of the Jackfruit tree grow in close clusters at the ends of the branchlets alternating each other. They are large, thick and tough and in rectangular shape. They also have a rounded end and they point towards the short stalk. Usually, they remain in the whole stalk except being lobed in very young trees occasionally. In the top of the tree, they are deep green in colour and silky, but in the lower parts they are pale and awkwardly hairy.

The flowers of Jackfruit tree are not that common. In a tree, both female and male flowers grow separately. The young trees bear only the male flower heads. The abundant flowers cover a small cylindrical accessory and the whole stays together with this in two green cases. Male appendages grow at the end of short leaf and bear branches. They are not noticeable amongst the leaves when in bud. They are revealed by the falling sheaths as dense, yellow catkins. The female flowers remains making groups together in large spiny heads straight on the trunk or limbs. The flowers of the tree normally appear in the months of February and March.

The huge fruits of the Jackfruit tree can weight as much as 45 kg in some occasions. They are normally oblong or round in shape. Several pointed studs cover their rough skin. They are green in colour when unripe and with the course of time, they become more yellowish and brown in the final stage. There are a lot of tiny cavities inside the fruit and each of them contains one seed. A soft and yellowish pulp surrounds them as well. The young trees bear fruits only on the branches, but on the older trees one can find them in great clusters down the trunk. The ancient trees can bear the fruits even in the bare roots. The people in the eastern region of the country eat these fruits in huge quantities. People can get good nutrition from the ripe fruits. The unripe fruits are astringent, but still people cook and eat them as vegetables. Amongst a number of varieties of Jackfruit, the honey-jack is considered to be the sweetest and the best. People eat these fruit raw or boiled or fried in curries and in pickles. They eat it dried like figs as well. The mature seeds that are surplus can be roasted also.

Theflesh 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. 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.[22] In Indochina, there are 2 varieties, being the "hard" version (more crunchy, drier and less sweet but fleshier), and the "soft" version (more soft, moister, much sweeter with a darker gold-color flesh than the hard variety).

In Kerala, two varieties of jackfruit predominate: varikka and koozha 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.

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.

In Indochina, jackfruit is a frequent ingredient in sweets and desserts. In Vietnam, jackfruit is used to make jackfruit Chè (chè is a sweet dessert soup, similar to the Chinese derivative, bubur chacha). The Vietnamese also use jackfruit puree as part of pastry fillings.

The wood is beautiful, resembling mahogany and changing with age from orange or yellow to brown or dark-red. It has many qualities: it is termite proof, fairly resistant to fungal and bacterial decay, which makes it superior to teak (its strength is 75 to 80% that of teak) for furniture, construction, turnery and musical instruments. In Bali and Macassar, palaces were built of Jackwood and the limited supply was once reserved for temples in Indochina. Roots of old trees are greatly prized for carving and picture framing. In Malabar, dried branches are used to produce fire in religious ceremonies. A rich yellow dye used for dyeing silk and the cotton robes of Buddhist priests is made from the wood chips boiled with alum. The bark is occasionally made into cordage or cloth.

·         The leaves of jackfruit tree are useful for curing fever, boils and skin diseases. When heated, they prove useful in curing wounds.
·         The latex of the fruit is helpful in treating dysopia, opthalmities and pharyngitis.
·         The latex can also be mixed with vinegar to heal abscesses, snakebites and glandular swellings.
·         The wood of jackfruit tree is widely used in manufacturing musical instruments, furniture, doors, windows and roof constructions.
·         The seed starch is useful in relieving biliousness, while the roasted seeds are regarded as aphrodisiac.
·         To heal ulcers, the ash of jackfruit leaves is burnt with corn and coconut shells and used either alone or mixed with coconut oil.
·         The root of jackfruit tree forms the remedy for skin diseases, fever and diarrhea.
·         The heartwood of the tree is used by Buddhist forest monastics in Southeast Asia, for dying the robes of the monks to light brown color.
·         In China, the pulp and seeds of jackfruit are considered as a cooling and nutritious tonic. The fruit is useful in overcoming the influence of alcohol on a person’s body system.

One hundred Artocarpus heterophyllus trees will be planted on the Yamuna Banks of Delhi NCR near Shastri Park, Okhla and Sarita Vihar starting on World Environment Day, 5th June 2014. 

Give me Trees Trust, Peepal Baba and Sustainable Green Initiative are working together to plant 100,000 trees in Delhi NCR in 2014. 

If you want to volunteer time, effort or contribute to this cause as an individual or corporate please write to us at or call us at +918420084225

At Sustainable Green Initiative, we plant trees to help the fight against climate change and also hunger, poverty and rural migration.  By planting a tree through us, you help in doing your bit to mitigate your carbon footprint and carry on the fight against hunger, poverty and climate change.

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