The Jackfruit is an evergreen tree that has large, edible fruits which grow directly on the trunk and the branches of the tree. Artocarpus heterophyllus is a tropical to subtropical evergreen tree that is native from India to Malaya Peninsula. It is a large, straight-trunked, somewhat stately tree that typically grows 30-70' (sometimes to 90') tall. It is best noted for bearing the largest fruits of any tree in the world. It is considered to be cauliflorous (flowers and fruits grow on short stems from the trunks and large branches). Fruits are generally melon-shaped, growing from 1-3' long and from 9-20" in diameter, with weight ranging from 10-35 (less frequently to 80) pounds. Average fruits are 1-2' long and 9-12" in diameter. Large fruits may have from 100 to 500 seeds. Fruit skin (rind) is covered with hard cone-like knobs. Pale green unripened fruits ripen to greenish-yellow or brown with a soft custard-yellow inner flesh. The aromatic pulp smells like banana or pineapple. Unripened fruits may be prepared like a vegetable. Ripened fruits may be eaten fresh or cooked. Seeds may be boiled and roasted (chestnut-like taste). Jackfruit is quite popular in southeast Asia. Trunk, branches and leaves contain a gummy latex. Leathery, elliptic to ovate leaves (to 8" long) are glossy deep green. Monoecious greenish flowers (male and female flowers in separate flower heads) primarily bloom spring to fall (specific time depending on climate and variety) with sporadic additional bloom at other times.
Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12 where it is best grown in deep, rich, acidic, consistently and evenly moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Plants generally like warm, sunny, humid conditions. Avoid dry soils. Plants perform best in frost free climates. Established plants will tolerate an occasional light frost, but young plants may be killed by any frost. Plants are intolerant of temperatures below 28 degrees F.
The seeds are collected from fresh fruits and are stored in a refrigerator to maintain viability.
Growing Instructions for the jackfruit.
The seeds can be sprouted using the ziplock bag method or the can be planted in pots or in the ground. To use the bag method, wrap the seeds in a wet paper towel and put them in a ziplock bag. Store the bag at room temperature until the seeds start to sprout. The seeds can be planted outdoors in warm climates.
1. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
2. Put the seeds on the soil.
3. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
4. Water the seeds.
5. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
6. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.
7. Water the jackfruit plants regularly and give them fertilizer every month during the growing season.