The nangka tree, jack, jak or jackfruit tree is a species of tree of the mulberry family; a monoecious; (botanical term describing a plant species in which male and female organs are found on the same plant but in different flowers). The jackfruit is the largest of all tree borne fruits; approximately 25 cm. in diameter. When fully ripe, the unopened jackfruit emits a strong disagreeable odor, resembling that of decayed onions, while the pulp of the opened fruit smells of pineapple and banana. Jackfruit is very high in vitamin A, fiber and starch.
Nangka wood or “jackwood” is a hard, strong and durable wood. It is yellow in color and very light weight. Today, organic jewelry has evolved into a major role in the fashion industry. The honey yellow tone of the Nangka wood “jackwood” is ideal for using as ornamentation and is often made into beads for the creation of beautiful jewelry and accessories.
Nangka wood (jackwood) is an important timber in Ceylon and India; some is exported to Europe. It changes with age from orange or yellow to brown or dark-red; it resembles mahogany and is superior to teak for furniture, construction, turnery, masts, oars, implements, brush backs, and musical instruments.
The nangka tree is cultivated at low elevations throughout India, Burma, Ceylon, southern China, Malaya, and the East Indies. It is common in the Philippines, both cultivated and naturalized. In South India, the jackfruit is a popular food ranking next to the mango and banana in total annual production. The nangka leaves are used as food wrappers in cooking, and sometimes fastened together for use as plates. The latex is used as a multi-purpose adhesive to mend chinaware, earthenware and to caulk boats.
From the sawdust of jackwood or chips of the heartwood, boiled with alum, derives a rich yellow dye commonly used for dyeing silk and the cotton robes of Buddhist priests. In Indonesia, splinters of the wood are put into the bamboo tubes collecting coconut toddy in order to impart a yellow tone to sugar.