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Botanic Name
Common Name
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Durio zibethinus
Species identity
Ecology and distribution
Propagation and management
Functional uses
Pests and diseases
Additional Info

Species identity
Current name: Durio zibethinus
Authority: Murray
Family: Bombacaceae

Durio acuminatissimus Merr.

Common names

(Burmese) : du-yin
(English) : civet fruit, civet-cat tree, durian, thurian
(Filipino) : dulian
(German) : Durianbaum, Zibetbaum
(Indonesian) : ambetan, duren, kadu
(Javanese) : ambetan, duren
(Khmer) : thu-rn
(Lao (Sino-Tibetan)) : thourin
(Malay) : durian kampong, durian puteh
(Swahili) : mduriani
(Thai) : rian, thurian
(Trade name) : durian
(Vietnamese) : s[aaf]u ri[ee]ng, s ring

Botanic description
Durio zibethinus is a medium to large buttressed tree, up to 45 m tall in dense lowland forests and 10-15 m in orchards and backyards; bark dark red brown, peeling off irregularly. Leaves elliptic or lanceolate-elliptic, 10-15 cm long, 3-4 cm wide, papery; base acute; apex acuminate, upper surface glabrous, glossy, lower surface densely covered with silvery or golden scales; secondary veins in about 15 pairs, distinctly looping near the margin; venation indistinct below. Petioles 1-1.5 cm long, angular. Flowers in fascicles of corymbose inflorescences. Pedicels 5-7 cm long; calyx saccate, flattened at the base, with tube about 2 cm long and 1.5 cm in diameter; petals white or creamy, spathulate, 5 cm long and 2 cm wide at the broadest part. Stamen white, 4 cm long in 5 distinct phalanges, each filament with up to 12 reniform anthers dehiscing by a slit. Ovary ovoid; style slender, 4 cm long, stigma yellow. Fruit varies greatly in size; 15-25 cm in diameter, green to yellowish brown, with spines that are variable in length and shape. Seeds chestnut-brown, completely enclosed in a thick, white or yellow, soft, sweet, fragrant aril. The generic epithet is derived from the Malay word 'duri' (thorn), alluding to the spiny fruit.
Ecology and distribution
History of cultivation
D. zibethinus was introduced into Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) 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 1st seedlings were sent from Kew Botanic Gardens, UK, to St Aromen, Dominica, in 1884.
Natural Habitat
Durian is strictly tropical; it grows successfully near the equator, and up to 18 deg from the equator in Thailand and Australia. At these extreme latitudes, extension growth comes to a halt during coolest months. It needs well-distributed rainfall, but a relatively dry spell stimulates and synchronizes flowering.
Geographic distribution
Native : Indonesia, Malaysia
Exotic : Australia, Cambodia, Dominica, India, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Zanzibar

Biophysical limits
Altitude: 300-800 m, Mean annual temperature: 22 deg. C, Mean annual rainfall: 1500-2000 mm Soil type: Soils should be deep, well-drained, light sandy or loamy, rather than heavy, to limit losses from root rot.

Reproductive Biology
Durio species flower once or twice a year. The bisexual flowers open during the night and are pollinated by moths and other night-flying insects. In Thailand, the honeybee Apis cerana collects nectar early in the morning but no evidence has been obtained that it pollinates the flowers. At least one bat species, Eonycteris spelaea, pollinates D. zibethinus and its near relatives. Production of the durian fruit is seasonal and is prone to alternate bearing. The 2 main ripening seasons in Malaysia are November-February and June-August. Animals involved in the propagation of D. zibethinus include civet cat, elephant, tiger, deer, rhinoceros and monkeys. They are attracted by the durian scent and may ingest the seeds while feeding on the arils, thereby dispersing them.

Propagation and management
Propagation methods
D. zibethinus is often propagated by direct sowing of seeds. In Indonesia, D. zibethinus is largely raised from seed, although several methods for clonal propagation are practised. Vegetative methods of propagation were developed in the 1920s; commonly used is the modified forked method of patch budding, in which a bud from a relatively young branch is grafted onto a 2-month-old seedling rootstock. The scions flower and fruit when about 4 years old. In commercial orchards, selections are propagated by grafting onto seedlings of the cultivated species or occasionally on those of D. malaccensis, a wild relative. Durian fruits in 7-8 years under orchard conditions. In Malaysia and Singapore, vegetative propagation by etiolation has been successfully done.

Tree Management
Young trees benefit from 30-50% shade until they are 1 m high, at which time they should be gradually introduced to full sun. The trees are mulched lightly on a regular basis with application of animal manure, watered well during the growing season and only sparingly in winter to induce prolific flowering in spring and early summer. During the 1st years after planting, the trees are shaped by removing orthorpic limbs, including watershoots, and by thinning out plagiotropic laterals. Trees bear fruit best on limbs that are more or less horizontal; upright limbs contribute more to tree size and height. Pruning dominant upright laterals to maintain 1 central leader is essential. The low productivity of durian orchards is attributed to low planting densities and a long juvenile phase. Intercropping with cocoa could improve productivity through several aspects of the cropping system, such as provision of shade.

Germplasm Management
Seeds are recalcitrant; they lose viability within 2 weeks. They tolerate desiccation to 41.5% mc if dried slowly, to 38.5% mc if dried rapidly. Excised embryos tolerated desiccation to 53.9% mc, and none survived further desiccation to 40.1% mc. There are between 60-70 seeds/kg.

Functional uses
Food: Durian fruit is a good source of carbohydrates and also contains significant amounts of protein and vitamins B and C. Its rich pulp is eaten raw, cooked as a vegetable, frozen or dried for later use. Indonesians ferment the pulp for a side dish or mix the fleshy arils with rice and sugar to produce a local dish, lempong. The seeds can be boiled or roasted and used as confections. Apiculture: The nectar and pollen that honeybees collect from the tree is an important honey source. The honey characteristics are however not known (Eva,Crane). Timber: Heartwood is dark red. The relatively durable wood is used in interior construction and for making cheaper types of furniture and packing cases.

Pests and diseases
Pests include scale insects, leaf-eating caterpillars and beetles, and trunk and branch borers. Two nematode pests, Helicotylenchus spp. and Radopholus spp., have also been reported. In poorly drained soils, root rot or patch canker, caused by Phytophthora palmivora and Pythium complectens, can quickly kill trees shortly after the 1st symptoms appear. Associated with Pythium are secondary fungi such as Diplodia spp. and Fusarium spp. Corticium salminicolor causes pink disease; Phyllosticta durionis, and Homostegia durionis cause black and brown leaf spots. Leaves also suffer severe damage due to Colletotrichum zibethinus and C. durionis. Die-back of buddings is associated with Diplodia spp. and Phomopsis spp. Cultural practices, rather than deployment of resistant varieties, have historically tackled these disease problems. The younger trees, which are somewhat resistant, have often been used as rootstock to in-arch older, diseased trees.

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