The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is the largest tree borne fruit in the world. It is native to India, Bangladesh, Trinidad, Sri Lanka and Philippines, even 6000 years ago (as the historical evidences reveal). The fruit is known for its large size: it seldom reaches less than 25 cm in diameter and 36 kilos. The yellow sheaths around the seeds are small (3-5mm) and sweet, with a taste resembling to pineapple. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Indonesia, but it is widely grown in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia.
Although delicious, may be refused by some people because of its particularity in taste but also because of its smell when unopened ripened that is similar to rotten onions. While cooking jackfruits people often grease their hands and mouths before eating it because the rest of the fruit is a sticky, milky mass.
The wood of the tree is used for producing Indonesian musical instruments and for a traditional type of Philippine boat. It is intensely exported to Ceylon, where considered very rare.
It is even in India a true belief that eating the raw, unripe fruit may cause indigestion because of the trypsin inhibitor contained. Therefore it is recommended for the fruit to be boiled. The ripe fruit is used as a laxative, but in large amounts may cause diarrhea.
The latex and wood of this tree is sought all over the world. Heated latex is used in producing household cement.
The Chinese believe that the pulp and seeds are tonic, nutritious, and overcomes the negative influence on alcohol. The roasted seeds are used as an aphrodisiac, while mixed with vinegar the latex is used in treating snakebites and glandular swellings. The wood has also a sedative effect and it is said that its pith produces abortion.