Monday, November 17, 2008

Wild Durians of Bintulu and the Durian Theory

People who are familiar with Borneo knows very well the cultivated variety of durians ( Durio zibethinus) or ' King of the Fruits ' as what they are fondly called in this part of the world. It is according to some theorists a very primitive fruit in the evolutionary ladder of our present fruit tree because of its strong armour, height , colour and smell it has been able to win over competition among other trees in the tropical forest environment and survived to the present day. Seriously, this theory is called the Durian Theory.
The cultivated durian fruit is notorius for its intense smell, offensive for some but a welcome fragrance to many who will part any amount of money to buy one good fruit. Meaning RM 30 for a perfect fruit!
But among hoteliers its a NO, NO fruit to be allowed into the hotel premise. Thus it is no surprise that notices like these appear on hotel lifts:
" NO Durians or Outside Guests of Opposite Sex Allowed "
Durio oxleyanus Griff.
Among the Ibans the wild durian fruit above is called 'Isu'. Slightly harder to open, it has sharp and long thick thorns. However is much priced due to its aroma and sweet ' heavenly taste' to many jungle inhabitants and dwellers of the rainforest of Borneo.
This fruit appears to come in season right now to make up for the disappearing cultivated durians species which are in its tail end of the fruiting season. It's a little hefty on the price tag because its sold now by the kilo, which is RM 15/kilo.
Durio kutejensis
The local Ibans in Sarawak call the above fruit 'Nyekak'. The Malays call them 'durian kuning '( yellow durian) on account of its yellowish colour flesh or pulp.
In this species, the thorns are short, skin and flesh yellow and are easily opened by applying a slight pressure of both hands on the fruit. It has brown seeds, much smaller than the cultivated species and in many cases have tiny or no seeds at all. Tastes sweet and does not give the hiccups if you take too many like the durians. A small size fruit like above weighs half a kilo and at present price in Bintulu is RM 5 per fruit.


Protege said...

Such extraordinary fruits. Sometimes one can go a whole life without knowing that plants like this exists. Amazing! And the sign is very funny.:)
Thank you for your help on the Christmas Cactus, that was fun!

nobu said...

It has really fresh colour.