Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Artocarpus heterophyllus Lamarck

Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum/Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Eudicots
Order:Rosales
Family:Moraceae
Genus:Artocarpus
Species:A. heterophyllus
Common Names:Jackfruit
Status:Casual

Description

This is a small-sized tree reaching 18 m tall. All parts of the plant has a whitish latex. The leaves are simple, alternately arranged, about 5–22.5 ×1.8–11 cm, are thinly leathery, glabrous and entire. The apex is blunt and tapers to the base. The upper surface of the leaves is dark shiny green. Saplings sometimes have lobed leaves. Flowers are unisexual, small and grouped in elongated heads. Male heads are elongated, 3-8 x 1-3 cm while female head are oblong and 5-15 x 3-4.5 cm. Unlike most other wild Artocarpus, the fruits are found on the trunk and main branches. The fruiting head is gigantic, measuring 30–90 × 25–50 cm, barrel- or pear-shaped, cream to golden yellow with conical warts. The seeds have golden yellow and waxy flesh, which can be eaten.

Read more about the Rosales order.
Read more about the Moraceae family.

Distribution

Widely cultivated in the tropics. Probably native to Southern India

Human Uses

Jackfruit is often cultivated for the fruits throughout the tropics. These can be eaten fresh or made into a chutney, jam, jelly or canned. The unripe fruits can be eaten as a vegetable while the seeds are eaten boiled or roasted. The bark can be turned into cordage or cloth. The yellow dye obtained from the wood provides the distinctive colour of Buddhist priests' robes. From the latex comes birdlime. The wood is used for furniture or made into musical instruments.

References

Chong, K. Y., H. T. W. Tan & R. T. Corlett, 2009. A Checklist of the Total Vascular Plant Flora of Singapore: Native, Naturalised and Cultivated Species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 273 pp.

Corner, E. J. H., 1988. Wayside trees of Malaya. Third Edition. Volumes 1-2. Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. 861 pp.
 
Keng, H., 1990. The concise flora of Singapore: gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Singapore University Press, Singapore. 222 pp.
 
Ng, F. S. P. 1978. Tree flora of Malaya. Vol. 3. Malayan Forest Records No. 26. Longman, Kuala Lumpur. 339 pp. 

Wee, Y. C. 1990. A guide to the wayside trees of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. (2nd ed.) 160 pp.

Wee, Y. C. 2003. Tropical trees and shrubs - A selection for urban plantings. Sun Tree Pub., Singapore. 392pp.

 

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