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Blighia sapida


Blighia sapida K. D. Koenig

Family Name: Sapindaceae
Synonyms: Cupania sapida
Common Name: Akee, Akee Apple, Seso Vegetal


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m), Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 10 m to 18 m


Native Distribution West Africa
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Others - Plant Morphology Tree, 10-18m height. Related to Longan (Dimocarpus longan) and Lychee (Litchi chinensis). Compound leaves glossy green above, slightly furry and paler green below. Flowers greenish-white, fragrant, small, held in racemes, produced in bisexual and male forms.Fruits tri-lobed pear-shaped capsules, mature from green to scarlet-red in 7-8 weeks, splitting open to reveal 3 large shiny black seeds and fleshy creamy-yellow aril. Aril is edilble when fully ripe (ie. when fruits split open). Eaten with saltfish as national dish of Jamaica. Unripe aril and other parts of fruit toxic, causing possibly fatal toxic hypoglycemic syndrome.Prefers moist fertile loamy soils. Propagate by seeds, stem cuttings or grafting. Seedlings bear fruits in 4-5 years, while grafted plants produce fruits in 1-2 years. Genus Blighia named after Captain Wiliam Bligh (of 'Mutiny on the Bounty' fame), who saw the fruit in Jamaica and took it to England in 1793.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Fruits
Food (Herb or Spice) (Fruit or Vegetable)
Others: Fully-ripe fresh aril is edible when fruits split open. Aril has nutty flavour and is eaten in Jamaica as part of national dish, or canned. Ripe aril consumed to lower fever and treat dysentery. Leaf sap used as eye drops to treat conjunctivitis. Crushed leaves used as poultice for skin ulcers. Immature fruits and seeds have high potash content, crushed to make foam and used as soap, or as fish poison. Durable and termite-resistant wood used in construction. Essential oils from flowers used as cologne. Seeds used to make beads.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits, Fragrant (Flowers) (Day)
Landscape Uses Container Planting, General, Shade Providing Tree / Palm
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden, Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks Tree prefers moist, fertile soils but tolerates limestone soils.

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Alkaline high pH Soils
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Grafting
Propagule Establishment Remarks Trees grown from seed start to bear fruit in 4-5 years. Grafted trees produce fruits in 1-2 years.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Hairy / Hirsute, Raised / Sunken Veins
Foliar Type Compound (Even-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Obovate, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Typical Foliar Area Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Bark Colour(s) Gray
Mature Bark Texture Smooth
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers , Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) Green, White
Flower Size - Remarks Small
Inflorescence Type Raceme
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Orange, Red
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 1459
Species ID 2752
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 August 2021.