Kathal or Jack fruit (artocarpus heterophyllus, family: moraceae) is a medium-sized leafy tree with many branches. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh as well as Sri Lanka. The fruits are unique in taste, well-smelled, nice-colored and juicy too.
It is one of the most largest fruits of the world. The evergreen tree has milky latex all over its body. The bark of the tree is rough and sometimes it removes scale. Bangladesh and India are the original home of the plant.
The leaves are entire, having bract, ovoid, 15-20 cm long and 10-12 cm wide, alternate, apex acute, coriacious; veins and midribs are clearly visible and those are stout too.
Flowering occurs in December and it continues to March. Flowers borne on spike inflorescence and those are covered with two bracts. In the same tree, the female and male flowers are seen differently. From the main branch of the tree, the female flowers appear.
The peduncle, ovary and perianth, all of them are transformed into a fruit. This type of fruit is called Sorosis. The fruit is obviously a compound one. Fruits are covered with spines all over its body.
The weight of the fruit is usually 8-9 kg. But it can sometimes be 30-40 kg. Fruiting occurs in the month Feb-July. The tree is cultivated commercially for its juicy fruits in Bangladesh. The leaf is used as a goat's food. Seeds are used as vegetables in cooking. Fried seeds are very tasty and nutritious too.
It is a very fruitful tree indeed!