Scientific name: Durio lowianus
Family name: Bombacaceae
Durian Daun trees in Taman Tugu
The Durian Daun tree is an indigenous rainforest tree that are amongst the 4,100 trees added to the Taman Tugu site, selected in collaboration with Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (“FRIM”) and Malaysian Nature Society (“MNS”). It is one of the trees added to attract fauna to the site – the fruits are eaten by mammals like squirrels and monkeys, and the flowers are pollinated by bats.
The Durian Daun is a large, buttressed tree reaching up to 46m; grafted trees are considerably smaller, with a straight trunk and upright growth. 72%-87% of the roots are found in the top 45cm of the soil, while 85% is within the canopy radius of the tree. The trunk is usually straight and has low branches and a dense canopy. The wide leaves have dark green upper surface that is glossy and densely reticulate. The lower surface is densely covered with silvery or golden colored scales with a layer of stellate hairs. The leaves are alternate, green and glossy on the adaxial (upper) surface, silvery or bronze colored on the abaxial (underside) surface. The flowers produced are large and hang in huge inflorescences on bare branches and are open at night. The flowers are perfect, whitish, with a strong odor, in cauliflorous (produced directly on large branches) clusters of 3-30, blooming at night. The fruits produced are large with a hard, thick, green to brownish rind covered fully with spines (spikes); large, long-peduncle; round to oblong fruit shape with five segments. Each segment contains a yellowish white to yellow, sweet, aromatic aril enclosing 1-4 light brown seeds. 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.
The fruit of the Durian Daun tree is edible – it can be eaten raw or cooked. The tree is cultivated for its fruit and sold locally, and overseas and its highly value. Due to climate change, these seasonal fruits now fruit more than once a year.
These strictly tropical trees thrive well in areas with warm and humid climate. A warm and moist condition is ideal with an optimum temperature of 25ºC-30ºC with 80% relative humidity. However, these trees cannot tolerate a prolonged dry period and ideally, an evenly distributed rainfall of between 1,500 to 2,000mm per annum is best suited for these trees. A relatively dry spell stimulates and synchronises flowering. These trees grows successfully near the equator, and up to 18 degrees from the equator in Thailand and Australia . These trees are found mainly in lowland forests of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand with some species in peat swamp forests. These trees do best on deep, loamy, well-drained soils, high in organic matter. Peaty or sandy and poorly drained soils should be avoided since the root system is very sensitive to standing water and are conducive to proliferation of durian disease.