Blighia sapida

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Blighia sapida


Tree 10-20 m tall; stems ferruginous-tomentose, glabrescent. Leaves paripinnate or less often imparipinnate; petiole plus rachis 4-17 cm long, carinate, puberulent; leaflets 4-8 (5), opposite or nearly so, chartaceous or subcoriaceous, adaxially glabrous and lustrous, abaxially puberulent along midvein, elliptic to oblanceolate, 5-15(20) × 3-5.5(8) cm, the apex obtuse, rounded or short-acuminate, the base obtuse to subcuneate, slightly unequal, the margins entire. Inflorescence of axillary, simple or paniculate racemes, shorter than the subtending leaf, axes puberulent to tomentulose; bracts subulate, minute; flowers solitary or in depauperate dichasia. Sepals narrowly ovate, 2.5-3 mm long, green, tomentulose; petals ca. 4 mm long, white, lanceolate, tomentulose; appendage ca. 2 mm long; disc cupular, tomentose; stamens 8, ca. 6 mm long, filaments densely pubescent at base. Capsule trigonous-pyriform, 3(4)-locular, 6-8 cm long, shortly stipitate, pericarp woody, thick, outer surface glabrous, lustrous, red, the inner surface densely creamish lanose. Seeds ellipsoid, ca. 2.5 cm long, black, shiny, with an enlarged, fleshy, cream aril covering its lower third.


Guyana cultivated, Neotropics, Suriname cultivated, tropical, western Africa present
Native to tropical, western Africa but introduced in the Neotropics. Widely planted as an ornamental and for its edible arils, the source of the nutritious Ackee, which is highly toxic when eaten unripe (Rashford 2001). Cultivated in Suriname (Veer, 2001) and Guyana as an ornamental tree, not a crop.

Common Name

English (Suriname): ackee