The Jamaican National Fruit
The Ackee: Ackee was originally imported from West Africa in 1778 and was probably brought here in a slave ship. It now grows luxuriously, producing each year large quantities of edible fruit.
The tree was unknown to science until plants were taken from Jamaica to England in 1793 by Capt. William Bligh of “Mutiny on the Bounty” fame, hence the botanical name “Blighia sapida” in honour of the notorious Sea-Captain. One of the earliest local propagators of the tree was Dr. Thomas Clarke who introduced it to the Eastern parishes in 1778.
Jamaica is the only place where the fruit is generally recognised as an edible crop, although the plant has been introduced into most of the other Caribbean islands (Trinidad, Grenada, Antigua, Barbados), Central America and even Florida where it is known by different names and does not thrive in economic quantities.
Ackee is derived from the original name “Ankye” which comes from the TWI language of Ghana.