Durio zibethinus


Common Names 

English: durian

Spanish: durián, durio

Indonesia: duren, ambetan, kadu

Philippines: dulian

Burma: du-yin

Cambodia: thu-réén

Laos: thourièn

Thailand: thurian, rian

Vietnam: sâù riêng


Origin and Distribution 

Durian is native to Malaysia and Indonesia.  Although it is planted on a small scale throughout the tropics, commercial production is mostly in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, India and Australia.


Botanical Synonyms 

Durio acuminatissima.



Large tree, reaching 150 feet (46 m), although grafted trees are considerably smaller, with a straight trunk and upright growth.  Leaves are alternate, about 10 inches (25 cm) long and 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide, green and glossy on the adaxial (upper) surface, silvery or bronze colored on the abaxial (underside) surface.  Flowers are perfect, whitish, with a strong odor, in cauliflorous (produced directly on large branches) clusters of 3-30, blooming at night and primarily pollinated by bats.  Fruits are large, from 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) long, with a hard, green, spiny shell.  The shell splits into  five segments when ripe, exposing the creamy whitish, yellowish or pinkish aril which surrounds large seeds.  The aril is very fragrant, and can be overpowering when indoors.  The taste is sweet and spicy, like custard or vanilla ice cream with overtones of spices, onions and banana.


Durian (Durio zibethinus) fruits


Propagation and Culture

Durian may be propagated by seed or grafting.  Seeds must be planted fresh, as they lose viability quickly, especially if allowed to dry out.  They germinate in about a week, and are fast growing.  Durian may be grafted by cleft, side veneer or approach.  Grafted trees begin to bear in 4-5 years, while seedlings can take 15 years or more.  In Thailand, 'Chanee' is commonly used as a rootstock.  Other species, such as Durio malaccensis, Durio mansoni and Durio lowianus are also used as rootstocks in order to impart disease resistance to the root fungus Phytophthora palmivora.  In India, the related species Cullenia excelsa is used as a rootstock to promote early fruiting.

Durian requires a tropical climate with relatively high rainfall which is fairly well distributed throughout the year.  It grows best in fertile, deep soils with abundant organic matter and a pH of 6-7.  Trees respond well to fertilizer, mulch and manure application, and supplemental irrigation during periods of drought.  Durian produces best from sea level to about 700 feet (213 m) elevation, but is reported to fruit as high as 2,600 feet (792 m) in elevation.  In Puerto Rico, durian flowers in April and May, and fruits ripen in August and September.  Average yield for mature trees is about 50 fruits per year, each fruit weighing from 3.3-9  pounds (1.5-4 kg).  

Cultivars and Related Species

There are more than 100 cultivars of durian.  These are some of the most important ones:
'D 24' - Ovoid fruit, 2-4 pounds (1-2 kg), sweet, yellowish pulp, high yielding (around 150 fruits/tree/year).  This is the most important commercial variety in Malaysia.
'D 99' ('Kob') - Round fruit, 2-3 pounds (1-1.4 kg), thick, soft, sweet yellowish pulp.  High yielding (around 130 fruits/tree/year) and tolerant to drought and Phytophthora palmivora.
'D 123' ('Chanee', 'Gibbon') - Ovoid fruit, 4-8 pounds (2-4 kg), thick, soft, sweet golden pulp.  This is the most important commercial variety in Thailand.
'D 145' ('Durian Hijau', 'Berserah Mek') - Round fruit, 3-6 pounds (1.4-2.8 kg), sweet, soft, golden pulp of excellent quality.
'D 158' ('Kan Yao') - Ovoid fruit, 4-8 pounds (2-4 kg), pulp sweet, thick, golden.
'D 159' ('Mon Thong', 'Golden Pillow') - Ovoid, 8-12 pounds (4-6 kg), thick, soft, sweet, golden pulp.
'D 169' - Elongated ovoid shape, 2-4 pounds (1-2 kg), yellow, thick, sweet, soft pulp. 

There are 28 Durio species, but only eight have edible fruits: Durio zibethinus (durian), Durio dulcis (durian maragang, lahong), Durio grandiflorus (munjit), Durio graveolens (durian merah, tabelak), Durio kutejensis (durian kulu, lai), Durio lowianus (chaarian), Durio oxleyanus (durian sukang, keratogan), and Durio testudinarum (kura-kura).


Durian pulp is usually consumed fresh, but it is also used to flavor ice cream, cookies and candies, or preserved by canning, freezing, drying, boiling with sugar, fermenting, or salting.  It is also used to prepare sauces and relishes.  The seeds are edible, eaten after boiling, frying or roasting.  Young shoots and unripe fruit are cooked and eaten as a vegetable.


Nutritional composition per 100 g durian fruit      

Carbohydrate 28.3 g
Fat  1.6 g
Protein  2.5 g
Calcium  20 mg
Phosphorous  63 mg
Potassium 601 mg
Iron  0.9 mg
Thiamine 0.27 mg
Riboflavin 0.29 mg
Niacin  1.1 mg
Vitamin C   57 mg

The fruit is believed to have medicinal properties, restoring health to humans and domestic animals.  Leaf, fruit and root extracts are used to reduce fever, and in treatment of jaundice, swelling and skin diseases. 


More information on durian 

Durian (Durio zibethinus L.)
From the 1987 classic by Julia Morton, Fruits of Warm Climates.

Durian Palace
Shunyam Nirav's tribute to the King of the Fruits!!!

Durian OnLine
Durian recipes, durian art, durian news, and lots more. 


Flowers of durian (Durio zibethinus)





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