Akee (Blighia sapida)

Pear-shaped fruit, with several moderate lobes and a red to yellow waxy skin. The skin, unripe fruit, and seeds are poisonous. The yellow, fleshy portion surrounding the aril is edible and has a nutty flavor.

Description: A medium to large sized tree, up to 40-60 feet in height. Fruits form in small clusters and grow to 2-4", ripening to an orange-red.

Hardiness: The akee is tropical or subtropical, and able to survive temperatures to the upper 20’s.

Growing Environment: It seems to grow a bit better in areas that cool during the winter, rather than intense humid, tropical climates. Grow in full sun, water regularly.

Propagation: Often by seed, and occasionally through cuttings. Seedling trees may bear in 4 years. There are a few identified varieties.

Uses: The ripe arils are boiled, usually in salt water or milk, then fried, and eaten. The fruit is cultivated mainly in Jamaica, though occasionally elsewhere in the Caribbean. Canned akee can occasionally be found in specialty markets in the United States and elsewhere.

Native Range: Native to tropical forests of West Africa, along the Gold Coast and Ivory Coast. The akee has gained its fame in Jamaica where it was imported long ago and has become a key ingredient in many popular dishes there.