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Durian

(Durio zibethinus)

Other Names: Civet fruit, Stinkvrucht

Description:
The durian tree can grow to 40 m in height in tropical forests It is erect with short, straight, rough, peeling trunk up to 1.2 m in diameter, and irregular dense or open crown of rough branches, and thin branchlets coated with coppery or graey scales when young. The evergreen, alternate leaves are oblong or elliptic, rounded at the base, abruptly pointed at the apex; leathery, dark-green and glossy above, silvery or pale-yellow, and densely covered with grey or reddish-brown, hairy scales on the underside.The fruits are ovoid to nearly round up to 30 cm long, 15 cm wide, and up to 8 kg in weight. The yellow or yellowish-green rind is thick, tough, semi-woody, and densely set with stout, sharply pointed spines. Handling without gloves can be painful. Inside there are 5 compartments containing the creamy-white, yellowish, pinkish or orange-coloured flesh and 1 to 7 chestnut-like seeds 2-6 cm long.

Uses:
Durians are sold whole, or cut open and divided into segments, which are wrapped in clear plastic. The flesh is mostly eaten fresh, often out-of-hand. It is banned from many hotels and restaurants due to its smell which has been described as anything from smelly socks to cheese mixed with decaying onions and turpentine.

Health:
The flesh is said to serve as a vermifuge. In Malaya, a decoction of the leaves and roots is prescribed as a febrifuge. The leaf juice is applied on the head of a fever patient. The leaves are employed in medicinal baths for people with jaundice. Decoctions of the leaves and fruits are applied to swellings and skin diseases. The ash of the burned rind is taken after childbirth.

Climate:
The durian is ultra-tropical and needs abundant rainfall.

Soil:
Best growth is achieved on deep alluvial or loamy soil.

Propagation:
Durian seeds lose viability quickly, especially if exposed even briefly to sunlight.

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