Blighia sapida

Blighia sapida K. D. Koenig

Common Names: Ackee, Acki, Ackee Apple

Family: Sapindaceae

Habit: Blighia sapida grows as a medium to large tree to 25 m in height with a trunk to 50 cm in diameter.  The evenly bipinnate leaves are arranged alternately with 6 – 10 leaflets. The leaflets are elliptic to ovate, to 14 cm in length with an entire margin and obtuse to acuminate leaflet apex.

Blighia sapida is dioecious. The incomplete, imperfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in terminal panicles or racemes.  The calyx has 4 – 5 green unfused sepals.  The corolla has 4 – 5 unfused white petals. In staminate flowers there are 8 unfused stamens and no carpel.  In carpellate flowers there are no stamens and a superior ovary with 2 locules. The fruit is 3 lobed, fleshy, bright red capsule at maturity with three shiny black seeds connected by a large, tan, fleshy aril.

Habitat: Blighia sapida grows in Human Altered environments (yards, gardens, farms).

Distribution: Blighia sapida is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago but is grown on some of the islands. It is native to tropical Africa and is widespread in subtropical and tropical areas of the world.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Blighia sapida has not been used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

It is grown for its edible fruits that have a fleshy edible aril and makes a good shade tree. Care must be taken as the aril is toxic until the fruit has fully ripened and opened.