Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Gerry McMahon, Senior Technical Officer, DPIFM Darwin

Name: Jackfruit Artocarpus heterophyllus (Moraceae).

Origin: Jackfruit is indigenous to South Western India. Believed to be from the rainforests of the Southern Ghats Mountains.

Distribution: Jackfruit was introduced into Malaysia, South East Asia and into East Africa by the Arabs. Now it is grown in most tropical lowland regions around the world.

Australian Distribution: Mostly tropical regions of north Queensland and around Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Preferred Climate and Soil Types: Jackfruit prefers a warm humid tropical climate, mostly lowland coastal areas below 1000 m, with more than 1500 mm rainfall, without a prominent dry season. It has poor cold, drought and flooding tolerance, but can tolerate moderate winds and salinity. Performs
best on deep well drained alluvial, sandy or clay loam soils with pH 6.0-7.5.

Description: Jackfruit is a medium size evergreen tree from 10-20 m, with deep green shiny leaves. They are monoecious and individual male and female flowers are very small and grouped into a tightly packed

Female flowers are found on short stalks on the trunk and older branches and even on exposed roots. Male flowers are found near the branch terminals.

The fruit are syncarps and are the largest of all cultivated fruits and can weigh up to 50 kg, and contain 100-500 seeds enclosed in a strong smelling, sweet edible flesh.

Varieties: Jackfruit is cross-pollinated and mostly seed propagated therefore much variation exists. Some commercial varieties have been selected in different areas, but generally two main types exist - soft flesh
and crisp flesh.

Culture: Not often grown as an orchard tree but more as a few trees with another fruit crop. Spacings generally 6-12 m, and seedling trees take 5-6 years to produce fruit. Seedlings are difficult to transplant having a long tap root that is easily damaged. Air layering, inarching, epicotyl grafting and bud grafting are methods of propagation that have varying degrees of success, depending on time of year and tree selection. At seedling and fruiting stage an application of a mixed fertiliser is beneficial.

Pests and Diseases: Some of the major pests and diseases include shoot  borers, bark borers, mealy bugs and scale insects, blossom and fruit roots, pink disease and bacterial dieback can be a problem. Most of these do not cause economic damage to any great extent, and regular monitoring and
appropriate control measures will reduce any problems.

Harvesting: The fruit is mature when there is a change in colour, from pale  green to brownish-yellow. The spines also flatten out and there is a characteristic odour.The stalk must be cut with a sharp knife and the fruit carefully lowered to the ground.

Storage Conditions: Jackfruit can be kept wrapped in polyethylene bags and stored at 12ºC for 20 days. Temperatures lower than this will cause chilling injury.

Culinary Use: Immature fruit can be cut up, used as a vegetable, pickled or canned in brine. Ripe fruit is eaten fresh or can be made into chutney, jam, jelly. It can also be preserved as candies by drying and mixing with sugar, honey or syrup. The pulp is used to flavour ice cream and beverages.

*Check out this great link for the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens for information on grafting and a video on pruning. Just remember it is an American video and the months mentioned do not relate to Australia. Prune during the hot, moist months for YOUR area.

Here's some excerpts from the website to whet your apetite:

The fruit bulbs are used in soups, main dishes, desserts, milk drinks, ice cream and fruit salads. In India it is preserved by boiling with sugar syrup, butter and coconut milk. The jackfruit bulbs freeze well and they may be used at a later time like fresh fruit. The fresh bulbs are excellent dried or preserved in syrup.

Immature fruits can be cut into segments, boiled and eaten like a vegetable. The seeds are good boiled and roasted. Ripe fruit can be chilled or mixed in a fruit salad. This is one of the most versatile fruits. Used immature as a vegetable, stuffed or sautéed mixed with any kind of meat or fresh served as a fruit. Use your palate as a guide when being creative; here are 2 recipes to get you started with the largest fruit in the world.

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Comment by Lissa on February 16, 2013 at 6:21

Check out the link I have added at the bottom of the info for a pruning video (actually in two parts). It's very good (thank you to Peggy for sharing).

Comment by Lissa on December 17, 2012 at 4:56

Just noticed - your two trees seem to be in a sunken area each. Any particular reason for that James?

Comment by Lissa on December 17, 2012 at 4:55

Grown from seed at the same time by the sounds, but one is taller than the other by quite a bit. Natural variation in seedling grown plants.

How long do you think you'll be waiting for fruit James?

Here's a pic of the one I have in a pot taken just the other day. It's doing well, with lots of new healthy growth.

Comment by James Rosenlund on December 16, 2012 at 15:41

I've taken a photo of each tree.

Comment by Lissa on December 14, 2012 at 5:53

4m is still pretty tall for a pot. I'll have to keep this one shorter than that....but eventually I may find somewhere (lord knows where) that I can plant it out.

Keeping plants trimmed to size is something that becomes harder to achieve as we get older - unhappy fact of life. Needs to be kept in mind when we plant anything that is going to need years of constant vigilence and trimming otherwise we will end up with monster trees dominating small backyards.

Comment by Lissa on December 13, 2012 at 17:10

I grew a batch of seedlings from a delicious fruit I bought about a year back. All have been given away bar the one I kept for myself. Lacking space in the garden I'm trying it in a large pot and so far it's growing well, but whether it fruits in there or not time will tell.

Do you have some idea how long for fruit from a seedling James?

I'm constantly amazed at the fruit (papwpaw, banana) that can be used green for cooking. I just love roasted green pawpaw. Will add green Jackfruit to the list.

You can add your recipe to Forum - Recipes if you have time James.

Comment by James Rosenlund on December 13, 2012 at 16:46

When you have plenty on, you can cook a green jackfruit curry, ---- absolutely delicious, it includes the immature seeds

Comment by James Rosenlund on December 13, 2012 at 16:44

I had 3 fruiting jack fruit trees in Cooktown. 2 were of orange flesh and very sweet and stringy, but the other was a yellow color and when not overripe were crunchy, sweet and sherbety  I bought a similar fruit from Inala and planted the seeds 2 years ago and now have 2 small trees growing. I'll get a photo of them this weekend.

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