Ackee Tree Question

swrancherMay 30, 2011

I planted my Ackee tree three years ago when it was about three feet tall. The tree seems healthy and has been growing well. Its now standing about 8-10 feet tall. I wonder if anyone can advise when it may start fruiting? Because so far its done nothing...Is it too late for it this season?

Here is what the tree looks like right now.

close up of its foliage.

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zands(10b Fl)

I don't have any useful advice but ackeee are delicious and unique food! I used to get them from a friends tree. If I had the space I would grow one. Good luck w yours!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 10:42AM
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pepperot(FL)

Thanks for posting. I picked up an Ackee on a whim. It's about 4 feet tall and looks very similar to yours, minus a couple branches. I didn't realize there were special precautions until I got home with it. Hope to learn from all the experts here.

Tom

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 11:01AM
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fruit_guy

swrancher, timewise you are right on schedule, sizewise your tree still looks a little small. My tree fruited 2 1/2 years after planting and it was about 12-15 foot tall at the time. Give it a little fertilizer and hopefully it will shoot up some over the summer. The good news is that it can fruit 2-3 times per year, so if things go well, you might still get fruit by the end of the year.

pepperot, the most critical step in cleaning ackee fruit is to make sure that the fruit opens naturally. NEVER open a closed fruit. The reason is that there is a toxin (name escapes me at the moment - hypoglycin A or something) that is present in levels that in all likelihood will lead to your death!!! (Yes, that is supposed to scare you!) However, once the fruit opens naturally, typcially splitting into three segments, light reduces the toxin to a safe level. The next step is to remove the cream-colored arils that are attached to the seeds. Take care to make sure that they arils are still fresh and not discolored. Such discoloration starts about 2 days after the fruit opens. Sometimes the "less fresh" arils will become mushy. If you are not 100% sure what I mean by discolored or mushy, do not eat the fruit! Also there are small red "hairs" that are located on the inside surface of the arils. Make sure to remove these as well. Since there are folds or crevices on the aril, I was taught to spread the aril out to make sure that there are no surprises. BTW, NEVER eat the seed as it is always poisonous. If you eat the overripe aril or the little red hair you may become ill (possibly quite painfully so) but the odds are that you will survive. So I am told. I don't take any chances and if anything looks the slightest bit "off", out it goes. I would strongly encourage you (and everyone else) to get an experienced person to show you how it is done the first time. I've been cleaning the fruit now for a good 10 years, have given lots away, and never heard back about anyone having become sick. Come to think of it, I've never heard back from anyone of them! lol

Okay, hopefully you are still willing to eat the fruit. It is quite good and has a nutty flavor. Often it is eaten for breakfast and used as a replacement for scrambled eggs. The national dish of Jamaica is ackee and (salted) codfish. If you have never cleaned the fruit before, as a precaution I would advise that you invite over (practically) any Jamaican friend to help you clean the fruit the first time. They will happily do so in exchange for a portion of your harvest. Then in the future, you can either cook it up yourself or do as I do and deliver the cleaned fruit in exchange for a nice meal! :-)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 5:36PM
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swrancher

Here's a "happy update" about my Ackee tree that appeared to not be fruiting this season,

I spoke too soon...it's now producing its first crop of Ackee. I noticed blossoms on it a few weeks ago, they set and are now growing very rapidly. The tree is putting out more and more blossoms on other branches as well. Thanks to all for the advice about preparing Ackee. I'm having an aunt from Jamaica come and walk me and my wife through preparing the first crop.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 8:44PM
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swrancher

If anyone else is interested in growing ackee, I got an email announcing that the subject of this month's Broward Rare Fruit Council meeting will be growing Ackee. The meeting will begin at 7:45PM on Wednesday, 09/07/11 at the Broward County Extension Building, 3245 College Avenue, Davie.

Tony

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 4:58PM
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hmhausman(FL 10B)

Nice tree......very interesting horticulturally. I still scratch my head as to why Jamaicans like it so much. Its like getting excited over some scrambled eggs. Throw in that they are poisonous and can create quite a liability with the neighborhood kids and this was one tree that I did not ever have to have. Good job of growing though.

Harry

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 5:40PM
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gnappi

"Nice tree......very interesting horticulturally. I still scratch my head as to why Jamaicans like it so much. Its like getting excited over some scrambled eggs. Throw in that they are poisonous and can create quite a liability with the neighborhood kids and this was one tree that I did not ever have to have."

My sentiments EXACTLY, but I guess you could say the same thing for Carambola? If you had a kidney problem they could ruin your life. I guess sites like this keep us in the know.

Gary

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 7:17PM
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