Artocarpus heterophyllus 

Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.

Family : Moraceae

Common Name   : പ്ലാവ് (Mal)

      कटहल (Hin)

      Jack fruit tree(Eng)

Jackfruit is a tree which is unique in the fact that it produced huge fruits directly from its stem. Jackfruit is most probably native of the rain-forests of the Western Ghats. In fact, the name Jackfruit is derived from the malayalam name chakka. The tree is handsome and stately, 30-70 ft tall, with evergreen, alternate, glossy, somewhat leathery leaves to 9 in long, oval on mature trees, sometimes oblong or deeply lobed on young shoots. All parts contain a sticky, white latex. Short, stout flowering twigs emerge from the trunk and large branches, or even from the soil-covered base of very old trees. Tiny male flowers are borne in oblong clusters 2-4 in in length; the female flower clusters are elliptic or rounded. Largest of all tree-borne fruits, the jackfruit may be 8-to 3 ft long and 6-20 in wide, and the weight ranges from 10-50 kg. The "rind' or exterior of the compound or aggregate fruit is green or yellow when ripe and composed of numerous hard, cone-like points attached to a thick and rubbery, pale yellow or whitish wall. The interior consists of large "bulbs" of yellow, banana-flavored flesh, massed among narrow ribbons of thin, tough undeveloped perianths, and a central, pithy core. Each bulb encloses a smooth, oval, light-brown "seed" covered by a thin white membrane. There may be 100 or up to 500 seeds in a single fruit. When fully ripe, the unopened jackfruit emits a strong disagreeable odor, resembling that of decayed onions, while the pulp of the opened fruit smells of pineapple and banana.

Evergreen trees to 25 m high, bark 10-12 mm thick, blackish-grey, mottled with green and black, exfoliating in large thick flakes; exudation milky white; trunk with warty tubercles; branchlets glabrous. Leaves simple, alternate, 8-23 x 3-13 cm, obovate, obovate-oblong, or elliptic-ovate, apex acute or obtuse, base acute, round or cuneate, margin entire, scabrous beneath; lateral nerves 6-8 pairs, pinnate, prominent, arched, intercostae scalariform, prominent; petiole 20-40 mm long, stout, glabrous; stipules 3-5 cm long, lateral, ovate-lanceolate, sheathing, glabrous, cauducous. Flowers unisexual, minute, yellowish-green, in spikes enclosed by spathe-like bracts. Male from young branches, catkin narrow-cylindrical; perianth 2-lobed, puberulous; stamen 1; filament somewhat flattened, stout; anthers ovate-oblong. Female catkins from the trunk and mature branches, more massive, perianth with strongly projecting conical apex; ovary 0.3 mm, superior, globose-obovoid; style exserted; stigma spathulate. Fruit a sorosis 30-45 x 20-25 cm, oblong, tuberculate, tubercles conical yellowish-green, fruiting perianth yellow to light orange, fleshy; seeds 10-12 x 8-10 mm, elliptic-oblong, smooth, glossy.

Use: There are two distinct groups of varieties of jack fruit one is Varikka and other is Kooza. Apart from this, a distinct variety Thamarachaka is also well known. Varikka is the most commonly used variety. Muttanvarikka, Thenvarikka, and Kumbanadanvarikka are well known local varieties in Kerala. It is used to made many products like chips, jams, jelly, wine, squash, pickle, papad etc. Fruit and seeds are used to make curries. Timber is used for multi-purpose constructions, furniture, body of musical instrument veena and the drums mridangam.

Distribution : Widely cultivated in the tropics, origin is probably South India

Flowering & Fruiting : November-April