Named in honour of Captain William Blight of the Bounty mutiny. He is recorded as having brought Akee seeds from Guinea in West Africa to Jamaica in 1793. Slaves working there were familiar with this beautiful and weired fruit and knew how and when to eat it. A vital knowledge because if it is eaten before it is completely ripe, it is deadly poisonous.
A very decorative tree with bright gren leaves and arching spikes of creamy white, fragrant flowers, wich give way to brilliant red fruit.
The fruits are safe to eat only when they are fully ripe and have split open naturally. Inside 4-parted fruit can be seen at that point, 4 large glossy black seeds embedden in spongy, cream-coloured, buttery arils.
The arils must be detached carefully, whitout any pink coloured membrane of teh raphe that attaches the aril to its seed as it's deadly toxic. Arils are eaten raw or sauteed.
Akee is very popular in Jamaica where eaten with mango, breadfruit or dried codfish.
The timber, reddish brown, is hard and durable and is used in Nigeria for building.
(Picture by Rick Schuiling)