Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.

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Fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Lamarck, J.B.A.P.Monnet de (1789) Encylopedie methodique 3: 209. Type: Tropical Asia.

Common name

Jackfruit; Jack


Bark normally shallowly scalloped or pock marked on large trees. Bark exudate normally quite obvious.


Petioles and twigs produce a milky exudate when broken. Leaf blades about 14-17 x 8.5-11 cm. Leaves slightly sandpapery on the underside. Stipules sheathing the terminal bud.


Inflorescences unisexual, produced on lateral shoots on the stem and branches, individual flowers sessile. Stigmas clavate.


Fruits produced on lateral shoots on the stem and major branches. Fruits very large, more than 20 cm long or wide and exuding a sticky milky exudate when cut, particularly when immature.


At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade slightly sandpapery on both the upper and lower surfaces; stipules sheathing the terminal bud. Stem and petiole produce a milky exudate. Stem bark strong and fibrous when stripped. Seed germination time 16 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species, originally from Asia (probably India), cultivated in northern Australia and now naturalised in NEQ on the coastal lowlands between Cairns and Innisfail. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 100 m. Grows in rain forest regrowth and on old farmland.

Natural History & Notes

This species grows quickly and will fruit in three years, when it may be 30-40 ft high. Its fruit is the biggest and one of the most complicated in creation, though it may be rivalled in size by exceptional marrows and pumpkins. Corner (1988).

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