Jackfruit

This page has information about growing jackfruit in the Northern Territory (NT).

About jackfruit

Name: jackfruit, artocarpus heterophyllus (moraceae).

Origin: India.

Distribution: jackfruit is grown in most tropical lowland regions around the world.

Australian distribution: tropical regions of north Queensland and around Darwin in the NT.

Description

Jackfruit is an evergreen tree that grows up to 20m tall. 

It has shiny, deep green leaves. Female flowers are found on short stalks on the trunk, older branches and exposed roots. Male flowers are found near the end of the branch. 

Jackfruit can weigh up to 50kg. They have hundreds of seeds inside a strong-smelling but sweet flesh. 

Preferred climate and soil

Jackfruit prefers a tropical climate with no prominent Dry Season. It thrives in lowland coastal areas below 1,000m with more than 1,500mm annual rainfall. 

Jackfruit does not like the cold, droughts or floods. It can tolerate moderate winds and salt. 

Jackfruit likes deep, well-drained alluvial, sandy or clay loam soils with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5.

Varieties

There are two main jackfruit varieties - soft flesh and crisp flesh. 

Propagation

Jackfruit trees are not usually grown as orchard trees. They should be grown 6m to 12m apart. 

The seedlings are difficult to transplant. Air layering, inarching, epicotyl grafting and bud grafting can all be used to propagate jackfruit, depending on the time of year. 

You should use mixed fertiliser at the seedling and fruiting stages. 

Pests and diseases

There are several pests and diseases that affect jackfruit, including shoot borers, bark borers, mealy bugs, scale insects, pink disease and bacterial dieback. 

You will need to look after your jackfruit to reduce crop loss or damage. 

Fruit season

Jackfruit grows from June to April in the NT. 

Harvest

Jackfruit is ready when it changes in colour from pale green to brownish yellow. When ripe, jackfruit spines flatten out. You will notice the characteristic odour. The stalk must be cut with a sharp knife and the fruit carefully lowered to the ground. 

Storage

Jackfruit can be kept wrapped in polyethylene bags and stored at 12 degrees Celsius for 20 days. 

Temperatures lower than 12 degrees Celsius will damage the fruit.

Eating

Unripe jackfruit can be cut up and used as a vegetable, pickled or canned in brine. 

Ripe fruit is eaten fresh or can be made into chutney, jam and jelly. It can also be preserved by drying and mixing with sugar, honey or syrup. The pulp is used to flavour ice cream and drinks.

Last updated: 27 June 2017