Durian fruit

Durian fruit

The durian is a tropical tree that produces a fruit which is also called durian.

The fruit emits a stench so foul that it is prohibited in public places in Asia. The scent is described as cheesy, from dirty socks or rotten meat, according to different people.

However, its flesh is edible and very popular, earning it the title of king of fruits.

It is a big bay weighing up to 5 kg. Every year people die of ripe durian falling from trees.

The tree is tropical, so it needs a lot of sunlight, high temperatures and very high humidity.


It is a tree up to 25-50 m tall, depending on the species.

The leaves are evergreen, elliptic to oblong, 10-18 cm long.

The flowers are produced in groups of 3-30 flowers on large branches and the trunk. Each flower has 1 cup (sepal) and 5 (rarely 4 or 6) petals. There are 1 or 2 periods of flowering and fruiting a year, although the timing varies according to species, cultivar and location. Flowering takes place at night, during the day the flowers are closed. It lasts about 3 weeks. Pollination is done by bats, birds or bees, depending on the species.

Durian ripens about 3 months after pollination. The fruit can be up to 30 cm long and 15 cm in diameter. It usually weighs 1-3 kg but can weigh up to 5 kg. Its shape is oblong to round, the color of the envelope green or brown, its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species. It is covered with hard spines.


Among the 30 species, at least 9 species are edible:

  • Durio zibethinus (the only one exported)
  • Durio dulcis
  • Durio grandiflorus
  • Durio graveolens
  • Durio kutejensis
  • Durio lowianus
  • Durio macrantha
  • Durio oxleyanus
  • Durio testudinarum


Culinary: the flesh of the fruit is eaten raw or prepared as ice, confectionery and pastry. The seeds are edible grilled.

Durians on tree

Durians on tree


Common names:

Durian, civet fruit, civet-cat fruit tree, common durian, durian kuning, durian merah


Durian: from the Malay duri (thorn)


Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia


Along the equator, between 300-800 m altitude.


USDA zone 11



Deep, well drained, light, sandy or loamy rather than heavy to limit losses by root rot.



Durio seeds

Durio seeds


Durio is mainly propagated by seed but also by grafting. Fruiting begins 7-8 years after planting.

Sowing instructions:

  • seeds must be harvested from ripe fruit, preferably when the fruit has burst and even a few days later: it is not uncommon for the seed to germinate inside the fruit
  • seeds lose their viability very quickly, they should be sown immediately
  • wash the seeds with clean water to remove all traces of pulp
  • temperature : 28-29 °C ideally but germinates from 24 °C
  • keep moist but not wet
  • substrate: peat moss, vermiculite or perlite/pumice mix
  • germination rate: 7-8 days, 95 % after 10 days
  • keep seedlings in partial shade