Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

akee (or ackee) the curious fruit of a W. African tree, Blighia sapida, introduced to the W. Indies by Captain Bligh of HMS Bounty (whence the generic name Blighia). It is a member of the same family as the lychee of SE Asia.

The name ‘akee’ may be a corruption of the Mayan achee, which was a name applied to several plants whose flowers attract honey bees.

The fruit is comparable in appearance to a peach, but in structure to an orange, as it has segments. It measures 7–10 cm (2–4") long, is usually red when ripe, but sometimes yellow. When fully ripe, it splits open spontaneously, exposing three shiny, black seeds partly surrounded by a fleshy, cream-coloured aril (seed coat).