The Crop of the Day:

Durian, Durio zibethinus, Bombacaceae

© Paul Gepts 2002

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The durian tree

  • Tall tree of the jungle: up to 40 m
  • Temp: 25 -30 C; evenly distrib. rainfall: 1,500 - 2000 mm

  • Long juvenility period, i.e. no. of years till first fruiting: 5-8-10 years
  • Found mainly in lowland forests of Southeast Asia (maily Malaysia) with some species in peat swamp forests.
  • Propagation: bud grafting: i.e. bud grafted on seedling rootstock
  • Fruit yield: 10-40 fruits/tree in 1st yr.; up to 200 fruits after 10th yr.
  • Threatened by deforestation.
  • Suitable for light construction, door and window frames, wooden sandals, flooring, planking, plywood, sliced veneer and furniture.
  • Limited durability, easy treatability

The durian "dilemna"

  • On one hand ...
    • "Durian (--n.) : The fruit of the DURIAN, having a hard, prickly rind and soft pulp with an offensive odor"
    • "Some people would rather die than to smell the STINK of a durian."
    • "Like eating custard in a sewer."
    • "Overripe cheese, rotting fish,..."
    • The smell from hell, the taste from heaven."

  • On the other hand!!
    • "Give me durian or give me death."
    • "... the pale yellow flesh had an appealingly creamy, custardlike texture and a very sweet taste."
    • "Durian, the infamous tropical fruit, banned in hotels and public transportation because of its foul odor, but craved by many who have become accustomed to it. "

The durian fruit

  • Green to brown, pendulous, round to oblong; covered with sharp thorns 
  • Capsule, which splits into five parts when ripe

  • Each segment contains brown seeds covered with creamy, yellow pulp
  • 1991: Malaysia: production: 180,715 MT; export: 34,904


Component Per 100 g
Energy 153 cal
Moisture 64 g
Protein 2.6 g
Fat 3.4 g
Carbohydrates 27.9
Beta-carotene 140.0 mg
Vitamin B1 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2 0.13 mg
Vitamin C 23.2 mg

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