What Is A Durian Fruit: Information On Durian Fruit Trees

There has never been a fruit so steeped in dichotomy. Weighing up to 7 pounds (3 kg.), encased in a thick thorny shell, and cursed with an atrocious odor, the fruit of the durian tree is also venerated as the “king of fruits.” Unarguably the most popular fruit throughout Southeast Asia, durian is also banned in many public places. So what is durian fruit and what are some of the durian fruits uses? Read on to learn more.

What is Durian Fruit?

Durian fruit (Durio zibethinus) is a member of the family Bombacacea, along with hibiscus and okra. Unlike the other members of Bombacaceae, which typically have showy blooms and woody pods filled with tiny seeds and cottony fibers, durian stands alone.

Durian has large seeds surrounded by fleshy arils. The spiked husk may be green to brown, round to oblong, and filled with creamy to saffron hued bulbs.

About Durian Fruits

Durian fruit trees mature from June until August along with other tropical fruits such as the mangosteen, jackfruit, and mango.

Durian has, to most people, an offensive odor due to its composition of esters, sulfur, and ketones, which also compose “morning breath.” The smell has been described in much more colorful terms from that of roadkill, sewage, rotting onions, and vomit or combinations thereof.

The smell is so appalling that many public places have banned the fruit, including on the Singapore Rapid Mass Transit. Apparently, the odiferous aroma can be detected from yards away and, in fact, many animals, particularly orangutans, are lured by its odor from over a half mile (1 km.) away! The smell remains on the hands after eating for a lengthy period of time too.

The fruit is generally known as durian, even in native dialects; however, the notorious odor has produced less obsequious terminology such as “civet cat tree” and “civet fruit” in India and “stinkvrucht” in Dutch, which I think needs no translation. Despite its less than flattering description, it is one of the most important fruits of Southeastern Asia.

Native to Brunei, Indonesia, and the Malaysian rainforests, there are 30 known species of durian fruit trees growing throughout Southeastern Asia. The trees can reach up to between 90-130 feet (27.5 to 39.5 m.) in height with erect trunks, 4 feet (1 m.) across, and an irregular dense or open crown with evergreen leaves. Flowers are bell-shaped, born in clusters off the older, thick branches.

While the odor has been vilified, the flavor of the flesh has been lauded as being like a “rich custard highly flavored with almonds” and with “a strong aromatic taste, followed by a deliciously sweet flavor, then a strange resinous or balsam-like taste of exquisite but persistent savor.”

Another description about durian fruits praises the flavor as “like a concoction of ice cream, onions, spices, and bananas all mixed together.” Millions of Southeast Asians can’t be wrong, so there must be something intoxicating about this fruit and the popularity of durian fruit-growing plantations.

Uses for Durian Fruits

Durian is sold whole or cut and divided into segments wrapped in plastic. It is usually eaten by hand after it is chilled. The fruit can be eaten at different ripeness stages and is used to flavor many sweets, such as ice creams and other dishes. The ripe flesh can be eaten with a spoon and has a consistency much like custard.

Durian may be boiled with sugar or coconut water. The Javanese make durian into a sauce and serve it with rice or combine the pulp with onion, salt, and vinegar and use it as a relish. Some regions smoke durian or ferment it in earthenware pots.

Durian can also be found canned in syrup or dried. Blocks of durian paste can be found at many a Southeastern market. In some regions of Thailand, durian is combined with pumpkin. Unripe durian is boiled and eaten as a vegetable.

Seeds are small, round to oval, and look and taste like jackfruit seeds. These seeds are edible and can be boiled, dried, fried, or roasted. The seeds are sliced thinly and cooked with sugar or dried and fried with coconut oil and spices in Java. Other regions simply discard the seeds.

The young leaves and shoots of the durian fruit tree are sometimes cooked as greens. Also, sometimes the rind of the fruit is burned and the resulting ashes added to special cakes.

Certainly a useful and interesting fruit, but I’m not sure the description of smelling like “dirty gym socks” has me intrigued enough to seek a durian out for a taste!

Common Fruit Trees 3: Durian

A small durian fruit with its green, thorny husk. Photo by Goh Shang Ming

Common name: Durian

Malay name: Durian

Scientific name: Durio zibethinus L.

Conservation status: Cultivated, Naturalised, Native


A large tree that grows up to 25-40 m tall. It has aboveground roots. Tree crown is large and irregular. Leaves are pointed and alternately arranged. The upperside of leaves is green and glossy while the underside of leaves is silvery or bronze. It bears clusters of bright yellow flowers on branches. The flowers bloom at night and emit a strong odour. Fruits are coated with a hard, thorny husk which is greenish brown.

A large durian tree standing at the roadside. Photo by Goh Shang Ming The upperside and underside of leaves are different in colour. Photo by Goh Shang Ming

Habit: Perennial tree

Cultivation: It is planted by seeds or grafting

Ecological Function: The fruits of this tree attract wildlife.

Pollinator: Bats

Soil: Sand, loam, clay

Moisture: Moist, well-drained, fertile soils

Shade: No shade

Use: Ripe fruits are eaten raw or cooked. Seeds, flowers, young leaves and shoots are cooked.


In Sri Lanka, the upper elevation limit for growing durians is said to be 600 m [2000 feet] in the Philippines, 700 m [2300 feet], in Malaysia, 800 m [2600 feet]. These are the upper limits at which it’s possible to grow durians at all, though, not the optimum on Penang island in Malaysia, few productive durian farms are above 300 m [700 feet].

These places are also all relatively close to the equator, which suggests that the altitude limit for successful durian growing in areas further away from the equator like Hawai‘i may be considerably less, perhaps 300 m [1000 feet] at the most, with best growth and production at the lower elevations. It will take some experimentation by growers at marginal altitudes in more northern or southern tropical areas (such as Hawai‘i) to determine just what is the upper limit for growing durians there.

The Hawaiian islands in particular have so many microclimates depending on elevation, wind patterns, terrain, and existing vegetation that it may be difficult to give any set rules for this. Some higher-elevation microclimates as on the south slopes of gulches, may be suitable though the surrounding area is not.

Regarding altitude and climate, coconuts may be a fairly good indicator as to the likelihood of success with growing durians: if coconut palms can grow and bear well in your micro-climate… except for seaside areas [durians are not salt-tolerant], durians may be possible too.


  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 Taxonomy
  • 3 Description
    • 3.1 Cultivars
      • 3.1.1 Thai varieties
      • 3.1.2 Malaysian varieties
      • 3.1.3 Indonesian varieties
  • 4 Cultivation and availability
  • 5 Flavour and odour
    • 5.1 Phytochemicals
    • 5.2 Ripeness and selection
  • 6 Uses
    • 6.1 Culinary
    • 6.2 Nutrition
  • 7 History
  • 8 Culture and folk medicine
    • 8.1 Cultural influences
    • 8.2 Folk medicine
  • 9 Environmental impact
  • 10 See also
  • 11 Notes
  • 12 References

First used around 1580, the name "durian" is derived from the Malay language word dûrî (meaning 'thorn'), [6] a reference to the numerous prickly thorns of the rind, together with the noun-building suffix -an. [7] [8] The species name 'zibethinus' derives from the name of the civet (Viverra zibetha), known for its odour. [9]

Durio sensu lato has 30 recognised species. [10] Durio sensu stricto comprises 24 of these species. The 6 additional species included in Durio s.l. are now considered by some to comprise their own genus, Boschia. [11] [12] Durio s.s. and Boschia have indistinguishable vegetative characteristics and many shared floral characteristics. The crucial difference between the two is that anther locules open by apical pores in Boschia and by longitudinal slits in Durio s.s. [13] These two genera form a clade that is sister to another genus in the tribe Durioneae, Cullenia. These three genera together form a clade that is characterised by highly modified (mono- and polythecate, as opposed to bithecate) anthers. [11]

The genus Durio is placed by some taxonomists in the family Bombacaceae, or by others in a broadly defined Malvaceae that includes Bombacaceae, and by others in a smaller family of just seven genera Durionaceae. [1] [14] [15]

Durio is often included in Bombacaceae because of the presence of monothecate anthers, as opposed to the bithecate anthers common to the rest of the mallows (and angiosperms, in general). However, the first studies to examine mallow phylogeny using molecular data found that the tribe Durioneae should be placed in the subfamily Helicteroideae of an expanded Malvaceae. The authors of these studies hypothesise that monothecate anthers have most likely evolved convergently in Durioneae and in the Malvatheca clade (comprising Malvaceae s.l. subfamilies Malvoideae and Bombacoideae). [16] [17]

A draft genome analysis of durian indicates it has about 46,000 coding and non-coding genes, among which a class called methionine gamma lyases – which regulate the odour of organosulfur compounds – may be primarily responsible for the distinct durian odour. [9] [18] Genome analysis also indicated that the closest plant relative of durian is cotton. [9] [18]

Durian trees are large, growing to 25–50 metres (80–165 feet) in height depending on the species. [10] The leaves are evergreen, elliptic to oblong and 10–18 centimetres (4–7 inches) long. The flowers are produced in three to thirty clusters together on large branches and directly on the trunk with each flower having a calyx (sepals) and five (rarely four or six) petals. Durian trees have one or two flowering and fruiting periods per year, although the timing varies depending on the species, cultivars, and localities. A typical durian tree can bear fruit after four or five years. The durian fruit can hang from any branch, and matures roughly three months after pollination. The fruit can grow up to 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) in diameter, and typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). [10] Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale-yellow to red, depending on the species. [10] Among the thirty known species of Durio, nine of them have been identified as producing edible fruits: D. zibethinus, D. dulcis, D. grandiflorus, D. graveolens, D. kutejensis, Durio lowianus, D. macrantha, D. oxleyanus and D. testudinarius. [19] The fruit of many species has never been collected or properly examined, however, so other species may have edible fruit. [10] The durian is somewhat similar in appearance to the jackfruit, an unrelated species.

D. zibethinus is the only species commercially cultivated on a large scale and available outside of its native region. Since this species is open-pollinated, it shows considerable diversity in fruit colour and odour, size of flesh and seed, and tree phenology. In the species name, zibethinus refers to the Indian civet, Viverra zibetha. There is disagreement over whether this name, bestowed by Linnaeus, refers to civets being so fond of the durian that the fruit was used as bait to entrap them, or to the durian smelling like the civet. [20]

Durian flowers are large and feathery with copious nectar, and give off a heavy, sour, and buttery odour. These features are typical of flowers pollinated by certain species of bats that eat nectar and pollen. [21] According to research conducted in Malaysia in the 1970s, durians were pollinated almost exclusively by cave fruit bats (Eonycteris spelaea) [10] however, a 1996 study indicated two species, D. grandiflorus and D. oblongus, were pollinated by spiderhunters (Nectariniidae) and another species, D. kutejensis, was pollinated by giant honey bees and birds as well as bats. [22]

Some scientists have hypothesised that the development of monothecate anthers and larger flowers (compared to those of the remaining genera in Durioneae) in the clade consisting of Durio, Boschia, and Cullenia was in conjunction with a transition from beetle pollination to vertebrate pollination. [12]

Cultivars Edit

Over the centuries, numerous durian cultivars, propagated by vegetative clones, have arisen in Southeast Asia. They used to be grown with mixed results from seeds of trees bearing superior quality fruit, but now are propagated by layering, marcotting, or more commonly, by grafting, including bud, veneer, wedge, whip or U-grafting onto seedlings of randomly selected rootstocks. Different cultivars may be distinguished to some extent by variations in the fruit shape, such as the shape of the spines. [10] Durian consumers express preferences for specific cultivars, which fetch higher prices in the market. [23]

Thai varieties Edit

Most cultivars have a common name and a code number starting with "D". For example, some popular clones are Sultan (D24), Kop (D99 Thai: กบ – "frog" Thai pronunciation: [kòp] ), Chanee (D123, Thai: ชะนี – "gibbon" Thai pronunciation: [tɕʰániː] ), Berserah or Green Durian or Tuan Mek Hijau (D145 Thai: ทุเรียนเขียว – Green Durian Thai pronunciation: [tʰúriːən kʰǐow] ), Kan Yao (D158, Thai: ก้านยาว – Long Stem Thai pronunciation: [kâːn jaːw] ), Mon Thong (D159, Thai: หมอนทอง – Golden Pillow Thai pronunciation: [mɔ̌ːn tʰɔːŋ] ), Kradum Thong (Thai: กระดุมทอง – Golden Button Thai pronunciation: [kràdum tʰɔːŋ] ), and with no common name, D169. Each cultivar has a distinct taste and odour. More than 200 cultivars of D. zibethinus exist in Thailand.

Mon Thong is the most commercially sought after, for its thick, full-bodied creamy and mild sweet-tasting flesh with relatively moderate smell emitted and smaller seeds, while Chanee is the best in terms of its resistance to infection by Phytophthora palmivora. Kan Yao is somewhat less common, but prized for its longer window of time when it is both sweet and odourless at the same time. Among all the cultivars in Thailand, five are currently in large-scale commercial cultivation: Chanee, Mon Thong, Kan Yao, Ruang, and Kradum. [24] Since the 1920s, there have been more than 100 registered cultivars in Malaysia, [25] and by 1992 there were up to 193 [26] many superior cultivars have been identified through competitions held at the annual Malaysian Agriculture, Horticulture, and Agrotourism Show. In Vietnam, the cultivar, Musang King (Malaysian breed), is a common variety preferred by consumers. [27]

By 2007, Thai government scientist Songpol Somsri had crossbred more than ninety varieties of durian to create Chantaburi No. 1, a cultivar without the characteristic odour. [28] Another hybrid, Chantaburi No. 3, develops the odour about three days after the fruit is picked, which enables an odourless transport yet satisfies consumers who prefer the pungent odour. [28] On 22 May 2012, two other cultivars from Thailand that also lack the usual odour, Long Laplae and Lin Laplae, were presented to the public by Yothin Samutkhiri, governor of Uttaradit Province from where these cultivars were developed locally, while he announced the dates for the annual durian fair of Laplae District, and the name given to each cultivar. [29]

Malaysian varieties Edit

Popular cultivars in Malaysia and Singapore (Singapore imports most of its durians from Malaysia, hence the varieties are similar although there may be slight variation in the names) include "D24", which is a popular variety known for its bittersweet taste "XO", which has a pale colour, thick flesh with a tinge of alcoholic fermentation "Chook Kiok" (Cantonese meaning: bamboo leg) which has a distinctive yellowish core in the inner stem.

"Musang King" ('musang' is the Malay word for palm civet) is the most popular durian breed from Malaysia, rendered in Chinese as "Mao Shan Wang" (猫山王), which is usually the priciest of all cultivars. The origin of the name “Musang King” dates back to the 80s, when a man named Tan Lai Fook from Raub, Pahang stumbled upon a durian tree in Gua Musang, Kelantan. He brought the tree branch back to Raub for grafting. The news spread like wildfire as this new breed attracted other cultivators. “Gua Musang” literally means “Civet Cave”, thus adopting the name “Musang King” breathes life into this very durian breed, making the fruit sound even more legendary. [30] Musang King is known for its bright yellow flesh and is like a more potent or enhanced version of the D24. [27]

The Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry started to register varieties of durian in 1934. There are 13 common Malaysian varieties having favourable qualities of colour, texture, odour, taste, high yield, and resistance against various diseases. [31]

Known locally as "durian IOI", this variety has a round shape, medium size, green and yellow outer skin colour, and has flesh easy to dislodge. The flesh is medium-thick, solid, yellow in colour, and sweet. [32] Another common variety is "Udang merah", or red shrimp, found in the states of Pahang and Johor. [33] [34] The fruit is medium-sized with oval shape, brownish green skin having short thorns. The flesh is thick, not solid, yellow coloured, and has a sweet taste. [31]

Indonesian varieties Edit

Indonesia has more than 103 varieties of durian. The most cultivated species is Durio zibethinus. [35] Notable varieties are Sukun durian (Central Java), sitokong (Betawi), sijapang (Betawi), Simas (Bogor), Sunan (Jepara), si dodol, and si hijau (South Kalimantan) [35] and Petruk (Jepara, [36] Central Java). [35]

The durian is cultivated in tropical regions, and stops growing when mean daily temperatures drop below 22 °C (72 °F). [19] The centre of ecological diversity for durians is the island of Borneo, where the fruits of the edible species of Durio including D. zibethinus, D. dulcis, D. graveolens, D. kutejensis, D. oxleyanus, and D. testudinarius are sold in local markets.

D. zibethinus is not grown in Brunei because consumers there prefer other species such as D. graveolens, D. kutejensis, and D. oxleyanus. These species are commonly distributed in Brunei, and together with other species like D. testudinarius and D. dulcis constitute a genetically diverse crop source. [37]

Although the durian is not native to Thailand, Thailand is ranked the world's number one exporter of durian, producing around 700,000 tonnes of durian per year, 400,000 tonnes of which are exported to mainland China and Hong Kong. [38] Malaysia and Indonesia follow, both producing about 265,000 tonnes each. Of this, Malaysia exported 35,000 tonnes in 1999. [39] Chantaburi in Thailand holds the World Durian Festival in early May each year. This single province is responsible for half of the durian production of Thailand. [40] [41] In the Philippines, the centre of durian production is the Davao Region. The Kadayawan Festival is an annual celebration featuring the durian in Davao City.

Durian was introduced into Australia in the early 1960s and clonal material was first introduced in 1975. Over thirty clones of D. zibethinus and six other Durio species have been subsequently introduced into Australia. [42] China is the major importer, purchasing 65,000 tonnes in 1999, followed by Singapore with 40,000 tonnes and Taiwan with 5,000 tonnes. In the same year, the United States imported 2,000 tonnes, mostly frozen, and the European Community imported 500 tonnes. [39] Due to the increasing popularity of durian in China, the price had risen up to 20 times over in four years, in a market that was worth nearly £400m in 2018. Malaysia negotiated a deal with China to export the whole fruit frozen for the first time to China starting in 2019, previously only Thailand was permitted to export the whole fruit to China. [43]

The durian is a seasonal fruit, unlike some other non-seasonal tropical fruits such as the papaya which are available throughout the year. In peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, the season for durians is typically from June to August, coinciding with that of the mangosteen. [10]

Prices of durians are relatively high, compared with other fruits. For example, in Singapore the strong demand for high quality cultivars such as the D24 (Sultan), and Musang King (Mao Shan Wang) has resulted in typical retail prices of between S$8 to S$15 (US$5 to US$10) per kilogram of whole fruit in 2007. [23] With an average weight of about 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz), a durian fruit would therefore cost about S$12 to S$22 (US$8 to US$15). [23] The edible portion of the fruit, known as the aril and usually referred to as the "flesh" or "pulp", only accounts for about 15–30% of the mass of the entire fruit. [44] The increasing popularity of the fruit also saw the price of the Malaysian variety Musang King rise considerably durian farmers would see the prices they get increasing from two ringgit per kilogram to 60 ringgit per kilo by 2018, which made it a far more lucrative than palm oil or rubber, leading to an increase in durian plantation. [43] Many consumers in Singapore are nevertheless quite willing to spend up to around S$75 (US$50) on a single purchase of about half a dozen of the favoured fruit to be shared by family members. [23]

In-season durians can be found in mainstream Japanese supermarkets, while in the West they are sold mainly by Asian markets.

The unusual flavour and odour of the fruit have prompted many people to express diverse and passionate views ranging from deep appreciation to intense disgust. [3] [45] [46] Writing in 1856, the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace provided a much-quoted description of the flavour of the durian:

The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the edible part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acidic nor sweet nor juicy yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience. . as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour it is unsurpassed. [47] [a]

Wallace described himself as being at first reluctant to try it because of the aroma, "but in Borneo I found a ripe fruit on the ground, and, eating it out of doors, I at once became a confirmed Durian eater". [48] He cited one traveller from 1599: [b] "it is of such an excellent taste that it surpasses in flavour all other fruits of the world, according to those who have tasted it." [48] He cites another writer: "To those not used to it, it seems at first to smell like rotten onions, but immediately after they have tasted it they prefer it to all other food. The natives give it honourable titles, exalt it, and make verses on it." [48] Despite having tried many foods that are arguably more eccentric, Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods, was unable to finish a durian upon sampling it, due to his intolerance of its strong taste.

While Wallace cautions that "the smell of the ripe fruit is certainly at first disagreeable", later descriptions by Westerners are more graphic in detail. Novelist Anthony Burgess writes that eating durian is "like eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory". [49] Travel and food writer Richard Sterling says:

its odor is best described as pig-excrement, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away. Despite its great local popularity, the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Southeast Asia. [50]

Other comparisons have been made with the civet, sewage, stale vomit, skunk spray and used surgical swabs. [45] The wide range of descriptions for the odour of durian may have a great deal to do with the variability of durian odour itself. [9] [51] Durians from different species or clones can have significantly different aromas for example, red durian (D. dulcis) has a deep caramel flavour with a turpentine odour while red-fleshed durian (D. graveolens) emits a fragrance of roasted almonds. [3] Among the varieties of D. zibethinus, Thai varieties are sweeter in flavour and less odorous than Malay ones. [10] The degree of ripeness has an effect on the flavour as well. [10]

In 2019, researchers from the Technical University of Munich identified ethanethiol and its derivatives as a reason for its fetid smell. However, the biochemical pathway by which the plant produces ethanethiol remained unclear such as the enzyme that releases ethanethiol. [52]

The fruit's strong smell led to its ban from the subway in Singapore it is not used in many hotels because of its pungency. [53]

Phytochemicals Edit

Hundreds of phytochemicals responsible for durian flavour and aroma include diverse volatile compounds, such as esters, ketones, alcohols (primarily ethanol), and organosulfur compounds, with various thiols. [51] [54] Ethyl 2-methylbutanoate had the highest content among esters in a study of several varieties. [51] Sugar content, primarily sucrose, has a range of 8-20% among different durian varieties. [51] Durian flesh contains diverse polyphenols, especially myricetin, and various carotenoids, including a rich content of beta-carotene. [51]

People in Southeast Asia with frequent exposures to durian are able to easily distinguish the sweet-like scent of its ketones and esters from rotten or putrescine odours which are from volatile amines and fatty acids. Some individuals are unable to differentiate these smells and find this fruit noxious, whereas others find it pleasant and appealing. [3] [45] [46]

This strong odour can be detected half a mile away by animals, thus luring them. In addition, the fruit is highly appetising to diverse animals, including squirrels, mouse deer, pigs, sun bear, orangutan, elephants, and even carnivorous tigers. [55] [56] While some of these animals eat the fruit and dispose of the seed under the parent plant, others swallow the seed with the fruit, and then transport it some distance before excreting, with the seed being dispersed as a result. [57] The thorny, armoured covering of the fruit discourages smaller animals larger animals are more likely to transport the seeds far from the parent tree. [58]

Ripeness and selection Edit

According to Larousse Gastronomique, the durian fruit is ready to eat when its husk begins to crack. [59] However, the ideal stage of ripeness to be enjoyed varies from region to region in Southeast Asia and by species. Some species grow so tall that they can only be collected once they have fallen to the ground, whereas most cultivars of D. zibethinus are nearly always cut from the tree and allowed to ripen while waiting to be sold. Some people in southern Thailand prefer their durians relatively young when the clusters of fruit within the shell are still crisp in texture and mild in flavour. For some people in northern Thailand, the preference is for the fruit to be soft and aromatic. In Malaysia and Singapore, most consumers prefer the fruit to be as ripe and pungent in aroma as possible and may even risk allowing the fruit to continue ripening after its husk has already cracked open. In this state, the flesh becomes richly creamy, slightly alcoholic, [45] the aroma pronounced and the flavour highly complex.

The various preferences regarding ripeness among consumers make it hard to issue general statements about choosing a "good" durian. A durian that falls off the tree continues to ripen for two to four days, but after five or six days most would consider it overripe and unpalatable, [3] although some Thais proceed from that point to cook it with palm sugar, creating a dessert called durian (or thurian) guan. [60]

Culinary Edit

Durian fruit is used to flavour a wide variety of sweet edibles such as traditional Malay candy, ice kacang, dodol, lempuk, [61] rose biscuits, ice cream, milkshakes, mooncakes, Yule logs, and cappuccino. Es durian (durian ice cream) is a popular dessert in Indonesia, sold at street side stall in Indonesian cities, especially in Java. Pulut Durian or ketan durian is glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk and served with ripened durian. In Sabah, red durian is fried with onions and chilli and served as a side dish. [62] Red-fleshed durian is traditionally added to sayur, an Indonesian soup made from freshwater fish. [5] Ikan brengkes tempoyak is fish cooked in a durian-based sauce, traditional in Sumatra. [63] Dried durian flesh can be made into kripik durian (durian chips).

Tempoyak refers to fermented durian, usually made from lower quality durian unsuitable for direct consumption. Tempoyak can be eaten either cooked or uncooked, is normally eaten with rice, and can also be used for making curry. Sambal Tempoyak is a Malay dish made from the fermented durian fruit, coconut milk, and a collection of spicy ingredients known as sambal. In Malay peninsula and Sumatra, Pangasius catfish can be either cooked as tempoyak ikan patin (fish in tempoyak curry) or as brengkes (pais) tempoyak, which is a steamed fermented durian paste in banana leaf container.

In Thailand, durian is often eaten fresh with sweet sticky rice, and blocks of durian paste are sold in the markets, though much of the paste is adulterated with pumpkin. [3] Unripe durians may be cooked as a vegetable, except in the Philippines, where all uses are sweet rather than savoury. Malaysians make both sugared and salted preserves from durian. When durian is minced with salt, onions and vinegar, it is called boder. The durian seeds, which are the size of chestnuts, can be eaten whether they are boiled, roasted or fried in coconut oil, with a texture that is similar to taro or yam, but stickier. In Java, the seeds are sliced thin and cooked with sugar as a confection. Uncooked durian seeds are potentially toxic due to cyclopropene fatty acids and should not be ingested. [64]

Young leaves and shoots of the durian are occasionally cooked as greens. Sometimes the ash of the burned rind is added to special cakes. [3] The petals of durian flowers are eaten in the North Sumatra province of Indonesia and Sarawak of Malaysia, while in the Moluccas islands the husk of the durian fruit is used as fuel to smoke fish. The nectar and pollen of the durian flower that honeybees collect is an important honey source, but the characteristics of the honey are unknown. [65]

Tempoyak, made from fermented durian in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia

Ketan durian, glutinous rice with durian sauce in Indonesia

Durian cake made of durian-flavoured dodol, Indonesian traditional sweet candy

Keripik durian Medan (durian chips) in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia

A street side durian ice cream in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia

Durian Keju Bollen, a pastry filled with cheese and durian cream in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia

Nutrition Edit

Raw durian is composed of 65% water, 27% carbohydrates (including 4% dietary fibre), 5% fat and 1% protein. In 100 grams, raw or fresh frozen durian provides 33% of the Daily Value (DV) of thiamine and moderate content of other B vitamins, vitamin C, and the dietary mineral manganese (15–24% DV, table). Different durian varieties from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia vary in their carbohydrate content by 16-29%, fat content by 2-5%, protein content by 2-4%, dietary fibre content by 1-4%, and caloric value by 84-185 kcal per 100 grams. [51] The fatty acid composition of durian flesh is particularly rich in oleic acid and palmitic acid. [51]

The origin of the durian is thought to be in the region of Borneo and Sumatra, with wild trees in the Malay peninsula, and orchards commonly cultivated in a wide region from India to New Guinea. [3] Four hundred years ago, it was traded across present-day Myanmar, and was actively cultivated especially in Thailand and South Vietnam. [3]

The earliest known European reference to the durian is the record of Niccolò de' Conti, who travelled to Southeast Asia in the 15th century. [66] Translated from the Latin in which Poggio Bracciolini recorded de Conti's travels: "They [people of Sumatra] have a green fruit which they call durian, as big as a watermelon. Inside there are five things like elongated oranges, and resembling thick butter, with a combination of flavours." [67] The Portuguese physician Garcia de Orta described durians in Colóquios dos simples e drogas da India published in 1563. In 1741, Herbarium Amboinense by the German botanist Georg Eberhard Rumphius was published, providing the most detailed and accurate account of durians for over a century. The genus Durio has a complex taxonomy that has seen the subtraction and addition of many species since it was created by Rumphius. [19] During the early stages of its taxonomical study, there was some confusion between durian and the soursop (Annona muricata), for both of these species had thorny green fruit. [68] The Malay name for the soursop is durian Belanda, meaning Dutch durian. [69] In the 18th century, Johann Anton Weinmann considered the durian to belong to Castaneae as its fruit was similar to the horse chestnut. [68]

D. zibethinus was introduced into Ceylon by the Portuguese in the 16th century and was reintroduced many times later. It has been planted in the Americas but confined to botanical gardens. The first seedlings were sent from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to Auguste Saint-Arroman of Dominica in 1884. [70]

In Southeast Asia, the durian has been cultivated for centuries at the village level, probably since the late 18th century, and commercially since the mid-20th century. [3] [10] In My Tropic Isle, Australian author and naturalist Edmund James Banfield tells how, in the early 20th century, a friend in Singapore sent him a durian seed, which he planted and cared for on his tropical island off the north coast of Queensland. [71]

Since the early 1990s, the domestic and international demand for durian in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region has increased significantly, partly due to the increasing affluence of Southeast Asia. [10]

In 1949, the British botanist E. J. H. Corner published The Durian Theory, or the Origin of the Modern Tree. His theory was that endozoochory (the enticement of animals to transport seeds in their stomach) arose before any other method of seed dispersal, and that primitive ancestors of Durio species were the earliest practitioners of that dispersal method, in particular red durian (D. dulcis) exemplifying the primitive fruit of flowering plants. However, in more recent circumscriptions of Durioneae, the tribe into which Durio and its sister taxa fall, fleshy arils and spiny fruits are derived within the clade. Some genera possess these characters, but others do not. The most recent molecular evidence (on which the most recent, well-supported circumscription of Durioneae is based) therefore refutes Corner's Durian Theory. [12]

Cultural influences Edit

A common local belief is that the durian is harmful when eaten with coffee [45] or alcoholic beverages. [10] The latter belief can be traced back at least to the 18th century when Rumphius stated that one should not drink alcohol after eating durians as it will cause indigestion and bad breath. In 1929, J. D. Gimlette wrote in his Malay Poisons and Charm Cures that the durian fruit must not be eaten with brandy. In 1981, J. R. Croft wrote in his Bombacaceae: In Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea that "a feeling of morbidity" often follows the consumption of alcohol too soon after eating durian. Several medical investigations on the validity of this belief have been conducted with varying conclusions, [10] though a study by the University of Tsukuba finds the fruit's high sulphur content inhibits the activity of aldehyde dehydrogenase, causing a 70 percent reduction of the ability to clear toxins from the body. [72]

The durian is commonly known as the "king of fruits", [5] a label that can be attributed to its formidable look and overpowering odour. [73] In its native Southeast Asia, the durian is an everyday food and portrayed in the local media in accordance with the cultural perception it has in the region. The durian symbolised the subjective nature of ugliness and beauty in Hong Kong director Fruit Chan's 2000 film Durian Durian (榴槤飄飄, lau lin piu piu), and was a nickname for the reckless but lovable protagonist of the eponymous Singaporean TV comedy Durian King played by Adrian Pang. [74] Likewise, the oddly shaped Esplanade building in Singapore (Theatres on the Bay) is often called "The Durian" by locals, [74] and "The Big Durian" is the nickname of Jakarta, Indonesia. [75]

A durian falling on a person's head can cause serious injuries because it is heavy, armed with sharp thorns, and can fall from a significant height. Wearing a hardhat is recommended when collecting the fruit. A common saying is that a durian has eyes, and can see where it is falling, because the fruit allegedly never falls during daylight hours when people may be hurt. However, people have died from durian falling on their heads, especially young children. [76] [77] A saying in Malay and Indonesian, durian runtuh, which translates to "getting hit by a durian", is the equivalent of the English phrase "windfall gain". [78] Nevertheless, signs warning people not to linger under durian trees are found in Indonesia. [79] Strong nylon or woven rope netting is often strung between durian trees in orchards, serving a threefold purpose: the nets aid in the collection of the mature fruits, deter ground-level scavengers, and prevent the durians from falling onto people.

A naturally spineless variety of durian growing wild in Davao, Philippines, was discovered in the 1960s fruits borne from these seeds also lacked spines. [10] Since the bases of the scales develop into spines as the fruit matures, sometimes spineless durians are produced artificially by scraping scales off immature fruits. [10] In Malaysia, a spineless durian clone D172 is registered by Agriculture Department on 17 June 1989. It was called "Durian Botak" ('Bald Durian'). [26] In Indonesia, Ir Sumeru Ashari, head of Durian Research Centre, Universitas Brawijaya reported spineless durian from Kasembon, Malang. Another cultivar is from Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Indonesia.

Animals such as Sumatran elephants and tigers are known to consume durians. [56]

One of the names Thailand contributed to the list of storm names for Western North Pacific tropical cyclones was 'Durian', [80] which was retired after the second storm of this name in 2006. Being a fruit much loved by a variety of wild beasts, the durian sometimes signifies the long-forgotten animalistic aspect of humans, as in the legend of Orang Mawas, the Malaysian version of Bigfoot, and Orang Pendek, its Sumatran version, both of which have been claimed to feast on durians. [81] [82]

Folk medicine Edit

In Malaysia, a decoction of the leaves and roots used to be prescribed as an antipyretic. The leaf juice is applied on the head of a fever patient. [3] The most complete description of the medicinal use of the durian as remedies for fevers is a Malay prescription, collected by Burkill and Haniff in 1930. It instructs the reader to boil the roots of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis with the roots of Durio zibethinus, Nephelium longan, Nephelium mutabile and Artocarpus integrifolia, and drink the decoction or use it as a poultice. [83]

Southeast Asian traditional beliefs, as well as traditional Chinese food therapy, consider the durian fruit to have warming properties liable to cause excessive sweating. [84] The traditional method to counteract this is to pour water into the empty shell of the fruit after the pulp has been consumed and drink it. [45] An alternative method is to eat the durian in accompaniment with mangosteen, which is considered to have cooling properties. Pregnant women or people with high blood pressure are traditionally advised not to consume durian. [28] [85]

The Javanese believe durian to have aphrodisiac qualities, and impose a set of rules on what may or may not be consumed with it or shortly thereafter. [45] A saying in Indonesian, durian jatuh sarung naik, meaning "the durian falls and the sarong comes up", refers to this belief. [86] The warnings against the supposed lecherous quality of this fruit soon spread to the West – the Swedenborgian philosopher Herman Vetterling commented on so-called "erotic properties" of the durian in the early 20th century. [87]

The increased demand for durians in China has prompted a shift in Malaysia from small-scale durian orchards to large-scale industrial operations, with forests being cleared to make way for large durian plantations. [88]

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a. ^ Wallace makes an almost identical comment in his 1866 publication The Malay Archipelago: The land of the orang-utang and the bird of paradise. [48]

b. ^ The traveller Wallace cites is Linschott (Wallace's spelling for Jan Huyghen van Linschoten), whose name appears repeatedly in Internet searches on durian, with such citations themselves tracing back to Wallace. In translations of Linschoten's writings, the fruit is spelled as duryoen. [89]

How to grow the durian fruit you love

Durian fruit is a strong smelling, strange looking tropical fruit that has been popular in southeastern Asia for several centuries and is finally beginning to gain international appeal. While there are several different types of durian trees native to the region, only a few species bear edible fruit. Today, many producers work hard to cultivate these species and provide the world with the incredible durian fruit

The best location for durian fruit trees

Durian producers know that beginning and maintaining a successful durian orchard requires land that is located within fifteen degrees – about 1,000 miles – of the equator. Although the trees are more tolerant of cool temperatures than many other types of tropical fruits, they do require a great deal of water, prompting many producers to install irrigation systems in their orchards this goes a long way towards ensuring a good crop even when the weather is drier than normal. While some producers have routinely produced successful durian fruit crops in areas that only receive 75 inches of rain each year, the most profitable crops are grown in areas that routinely receive more than 125 inches of rainfall annually.

One of the biggest challenges producers encounter is determining how to provide the trees with enough water without generating pools of standing water, something the root systems of the durian tree are especially sensitive to. Producers in Penang, Malaysia believe the key is planting durian trees on hills and valley walls. While the steep terrain makes tending the trees more challenging, they also provide the perfect amount of drainage, which is why the region consistently produces the highest quality durian fruit.

Most producers either buy young durian trees or they start their own seedlings in pots filled with sandy soil. Starting the trees in pots allows the producers to better control soil conditions while also protecting the young saplings from disease and predators. The trees do best when planted in soil that is either sandy clay or a clay loam, that drains well and that has a pH level of 6-7. Durian trees have a very low tolerance for any salt in the soil, which is why you will not find any orchards near the ocean.

Caring for durian fruit trees

The amount of care that goes into the trees depends on a series of variables, including the location of the orchard. For example, producers in Thailand are discouraged from using animal manure on their trees because there is concern that the combination of the organic manure and the high moisture in the soil creates an environment for Phythophera palmivora, a fungus associated with fruit and pod rot, to thrive.

However, because there is no proof that organic animal manure has any impact on Phythophera palmivora, producers in other countries not only use it to fertilize their trees, but also report favorable results. Trees grown in drier climates require more irrigation, and producers growing trees in less than perfect soil have to use soil additions including fertilizers, rock dust, and lime to maintain ideal soil pH and nutrient levels.

Producers like to start planting saplings in November and continue planting the trees until about the middle of January. The trees are planted in holes that are two feet deep and two feet wide. Once the hole is dug, the producer pours approximately 10-20 pounds of their preferred fertilizer into the hole and leave it alone for a few weeks before planting the sapling. Care is taken to leave the young tree's roots intact while transferring it from the pot to the hole. The trees do best when they are planted from twenty to fifty feet apart.

In Brunei, producers are urged to mingle both papaya and banana trees with the durian trees.

Starting durian fruit trees

Producing durian fruit is not for anyone interested in instant gratification. Like most fruit trees, it takes time for the trees to become mature enough to produce high-quality fruit. In the case of durian trees, the first fruit crop is harvested when the tree is 4-6 years old. As the trees continue to age, many producers opt to cut down the most mature trees which are not generating as high a yield as the younger trees.

One of the challenges durian fruit producers face is that it is impossible to guarantee how well a tree grown from seedling will produce. Even though the producers strive to only use seeds taken from the most prolific and durable adult trees, the results are inconsistent.

To improve the quality of their orchards, many producers opt to use grafting to replenish their orchards rather than starting new trees from seedlings.

Types of grafting practices durian fruit producers use include:
• Bud grafting
• Wedge grafting (also referred to as cleft grafting)
• Whip grafting

Not only does grafting provide the producers with more consistent results than growing new trees from seedlings, but grafted trees also bear fruit at a younger age than trees grown from a seed. In Malaysia, producers report that it can take trees grown from seedling up to seven years to bear a decent crop, while trees created via grafting will produce the same size crop after just four years.

Durian fruit seeds are not very hardy. They are only viable for a short time after being removed from the fruit and do not tolerate pro-longed exposure to sunlight. Even when placed in cool, airtight storage, the seeds generally only remain viable for less than a month.

Even though many producers prefer to graft trees, there are still some who try to start trees from seeds. In order to increase the odds of success, the producers try to plant the seed as soon as it is extracted from the fruit. It is placed, sprout end pointing downward, into a pot of soil. The seeds do best when only half of the seed is inserted into the soil. If the process is successful, the seed will sprout after just a few days.

Durian trees require the most care right after they are planted. Producers must provide the trees with some protection from both sunlight and wind for approximately one year. Planting the young trees in an area where they are shaded by older trees is one way to reduce the amount of labor needed to care for the sapling. If an older tree is not available, durian producers frequently use shade cloths.

Pruning is an important aspect of Durian fruit production. When pruning the trees, Durian fruit producers remove weak branches and water shoots. Not only does the pruning increase the tree's yield, but it also helps protect the tree from being damaged by broken/falling limbs and increases the odds of the producer identifying health problems that may have a negative impact, not only on the tree, but also on the overall health of the orchard.

Additional crops in durian fruit orchards

It is not unusual for durian fruit trees to be planted in orchards where banana and papaya trees are grown. The taller durian trees help these species by providing a protective canopy. Most producers have also gotten into the habit of planting a legume cover crop in the same area. The legume cover crop does two things: first, it helps reduce the amount of weeding the producer would have to do if they didn't plant a cover crop, second, the sale of the cover crop increases the producer's end-of-year profit.

Preparation and Consumption of the Durian

Slicing the durian open with a sharp cleaver offers a dissonance of reactions. The smell is indeed fetid, but the compartments within contain generous servings of pulp that is solid (but not dry) and creamy (but not milky). The fruit can be consumed by hand or spoon, extracting the chestnut-sized seeds embedded in the pulp. Fresh durian pulp can be wrapped in foil and stored in a freezer but inevitably loses its delicate taste.

Different cultures use the durian in a variety of ways. In Borneo, the indigenous Iban boil or salt unripe durian, using it as chutney on their sticky rice. In mainland Malaysia, the seeds are roasted or fried and eaten like popcorn. In Sri Lanka, where durian grows wild, farmers will take durian pulp and mix it with curdled buffalo milk, sugar, and sometimes cinnamon or cloves.

Other variations, like durian jam and candy, are made for those who want a taste of durian without the effort of the aroma. Among the most popular recipes is durian ice cream: chunks of the fresh fruit are blended into a puree, mixed with pineapple or orange syrup, and poured onto the ice cream. Fresh durian is also used for a durian "cake." This Malaysian treat is made with durian pulp and sugar, slowly boiled together and wrapped in palm leaves. These cakes keep up to one year in the freezer. Incidentally, consuming durian, in any form, with liquor is strictly avoided. It is a long-standing belief that fermenting the fruit in the stomach with alcohol can be lethal.

See also China Southeast Asia .

Growing Durian Fruit Trees

If a hedgehog were a fruit instead of an animal, it might resemble a durian fruit. They are globes up to 12 inches in diameter covered by a spiny husk. One fruit can weigh up to 18 pounds. Only the inner carpels are edible, and an average fruit contains five of them. Yellow, green or some shade in between, durian fruit hang from the tree branches.

Durian fruit are known for their very strong odor and unusual taste. Some compare the smell to rotting onions, stinky cheese and/or turpentine. The taste is also remarkable. One American chemist described it like “a concoction of ice cream, onions, spices, and bananas, all mixed together.” However odd this may sound, people tasting durian fruit also say that once you have started eating it, is becomes increasingly difficult to stop.

Now for the bad news. The durian tree grows in the wild in tropical rainforests. It needs heat and it needs humidity beyond what an average gardener might have in this country. At home in the equatorial tropics, durian trees like the 75-86 degree Fahrenheit (23-30 C.) temperatures and absolutely frost free regions. The trees will drop their leaves and die should the temperature drop below 45 degrees F. (7 C.).

The trees also require abundant water. They thrive in areas with 63 to 157 inches of rain per year and 75 to 90% humidity. Very few places in the United States have the climate durian trees require to grow. If you think you do, by all means, plant this complex and intriguing tree.

Watch the video: Durian The Smelliest Fruit In The World Challenge MUKBANG

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