Artocarpus odoratissimus

Common name: Marang

Other common names: Johore jak

Names in non-English languages: Philippines Malaysia Thailand

Description

Marang is fruiting tree originating in Southeast Asia, probably on the island of Borneo, and is a close relative of the Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus).

On open sites it is typically a medium-sized tree 15 to 20 m (50 to 65 ft) tall and develops a stout trunk supporting a wide-branching, rounded crown. The bark is dark grey or pale brown and smooth.

The leaves are medium green, oval, 15 to 50 cm (0.5 to 1.6 ft) long, lobed on young trees, entire on mature trees and have a rough sandpaper texture.

Flowering is on and off throughout the year, generally in response to rainfall following a brief dry period, and with female and male flowers borne separately on the same tree. In constantly humid climates, without a pronounced dry season, the tree flowers and fruits almost continuously. 

The fruit are large and round, similar in size and shape to a Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), another close relative. The rind is thick, light green on immature fruit and with soft, pliable spikes. As the fruit ripens, the rind becomes yellow- to orange-brown, the spikes brittle, being easily snapped off under thumb pressure, and the whole fruit gives off a strongly musky aroma, indicating its ripeness. The pulp is white, juicy, aromatic and arranged in segments like that of a Jackfruit, with each segment containing a single seed.

Use

The fruit pulp is usually eaten fresh out-of-hand after removing the seed. It has a juicy, fibreless, melting in the mouth texture with a agreeable sweet flavour, somewhat reminding of banana and pineapple. However, the strong aroma can be off-putting for some. The seed are sometimes boiled or roasted and eaten as a nut in its native range.

Climate

Grows naturally in humid to very humid tropical lowland climates, generally areas with annual lows of 19 to 25 °C, annual highs of 27 to 35 °C, annual rainfall of 1500 to 5000 mm and a dry season of 3 months or less.

Marang may not thrive in areas where the average low of the warmest months is below 16 °C (61 °F).

How to grow

New plants are usually raised from seed which do best when sown in a free-draining seed-raising mix. The seed germinate readily but lose their viability quickly, so should be sown soon after extracting from the fruit.

Performs best on free-drained clay and loam soils of and acid to alkaline nature, generally with a pH of 5.5 to 7.5, and on sites with partial sun to light shade exposure. Seedlings need a lightly shading in the first year or two to protect the leaves against sun scorch. 

Problem features

There does not appear to be any records of escape and naturalisation anywhere despite its introduction into areas outside of its native range. It is assessed as a low weed risk species for Hawaii by the Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment project (HPWRA).

Where it will grow


References

Books

  • Janick, J., & Paull, R. E. 2008, The encyclopedia of fruit & nuts, CABI Publishing, Wallingford, Oxfordshire

  • Macmillan, H. F. 1943, Tropical planting and gardening : with special reference to Ceylon, 5th ed, Macmillan Publishing, London

  • Page, P. E. 1984, Tropical tree fruits for Australia, Queensland Department of Primary Industries (QLD DPI), Brisbane

  • Wickens, G. E 1995, Edible nuts, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome

Articles, Journals, Reports and Working Papers

  • Subhadrabandhu, S. 2001, Under-utilized tropical fruits of Thailand, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAPA), Bangkok

  • Watson, B.J., & Moncur, M. 1985, Guideline criteria for determining survival, commercial and best mean minimum July temperature for various tropical fruit in Australia (Southern Hemisphere), Department of Primary Industries Queensland (DPI QLD), Wet Tropics Regional Publication, Queensland

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