“Carry me ackee go a Linstead Market, not a quattie wud sell” is a line in the popular Jamaican folk song ‘Linstead Market’. Ackee (Blighia Sapida) is the national fruit of Jamaica as well as a component of the national dish – ackee and codfish.
Although the ackee is not indigenous to Jamaica, it has remarkable historic associations. Originally, it was imported to the island from West Africa, probably on a slave ship. Now it grows here luxuriantly, producing large quantities of edible fruit each year.
The ackee tree grows up to 15.24m (50ft) under favourable conditions. It bears large red and yellow fruit 7.5 – 10 cm (3-4 in.) long. When ripe these fruits burst into sections revealing shiny black round seeds on top of a yellow aril which is partially edible.