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Durio malaccensis Planch. ex Mast.
by Nadiah Idris & Ummul Nazrah Abdul Rahman
Newsletter
Durio malaccensis Planch. ex Mast.
by Nadiah Idris & Ummul Nazrah Abdul Rahman

Durio is a member of the family Bombacaceae (=Malvaceae subfam. Helicteroideae–Durioneae) and the genus was known to and briefly but invalidly described by G.E. Rumphius in 1741 in his Herbarium Amboinense. Adanson in 1763 was the first to formally describe and validate the generic name Durio as accepted today. The epithet name ‘malaccensis’ refers to Malacca. Many species of durian found in Malaysian forest are ramiflorous (meaning that the flowers/fruits are borne along big branches that are capable of bearing the weight of mature fruit). However, D. malaccensis is a cauliflorous species that produces inflorescences and infructescences at the base of bole or near the buttresses. This cauliflorous habit is closely related with other Durio species, e.g. D. pinangianus (Penang durian) in Peninsular Malaysia and D. testudinarum (durian kura-kura) in Borneo. The leaves of mature trees of D. pinangianus are generally smaller (measuring about 6–17 cm long and 2–5 cm wide) compared to those of D. malaccensis (measuring 10–26 cm long and 3–8 cm wide).

D. malaccensis is a medium-sized tree that reaches about 40–50 m tall and having small buttresses about 30 cm high. The outer bark is lenticellate and rough, grayish green, while the inner bark is reddish-pink, fibrous and the sapwood are pinkish white. The leaves are dark-green and glossy above, densely minutely appressed silvery-brown scaly below, leathery, oblong to lanceolate, rounded at the base and abruptly pointed at the apex. The flower buds of D. malaccensis are greenish brown with golden scales, abovoid and pointed while the odorless-flower are creamy-white. The epicalyx are lanceolate-ovate, acutish, about 3 cm long, adpressed lepidote outside and densely pilose inside. The calyx are 5-lobed, saccate, pale yellow with rusty or brown scales and stellate hairs. The petals are 5, white or creamy-white, deeply concave and glabrous on its inner surface. The stamens are arranged in 5 bundles united into a tube at base and the anthers are opening by a slit at anthesis. The ovary are lepidote, while the style are longer than stamens and densely pilose. The fruits of D. malaccensis have been reported as green when young, turning to dull grey-green at maturity. The ripe fruit is ellipsoid-globose, somewhat pointed at the top, measuring about 18 cm long and 13 cm in diameter and covered with rather stout pyramidal spines. Each fruit has 5 compartments, each containing 1–3 seeds, but the pulp is covering only about half of the seeds.

D. malaccensis is distributed in Peninsular Malaysia (Terengganu, Johore, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Selangor and Pahang) and also can be found in Sumatera. Locally, this species is known as durian batang, durian daun or durian tong (in Malay) and mostly found in lowland forests besides rocky streams or on ridges and hillslopes up to 1,000 m above sea level. Locally, the wood is used for cheaper furniture, cabinets, light-traffic flooring, paneling, partitioning, plywood, chests boxes, wooden slippers, low-quality coffins and ship building.

References

  1. Corner, E.J.H. (1997). Bombacaceae. Wayside Trees of Malaya 4th ed. , volume 1. pp. 187-197
  2. Kochummen, K.M. (1972). Bombacaceae. Tree Flora of Malaya: A Manual for Foresters , volume 1. pp. 100-120
  3. Kostermans, A.J.G.H. (1958). The genus Durio Adans. (Bombacaceae). Reinwardtia 4 (3): pp. 47-153
  4. Ridley, H.N. (1922). Malvaceae. The Flora of the Malay Peninsula , volume 1. pp. 215-225
  5. Yap, S.K. (1995). Durio Adans. Plant Resources of South-East Asia (PROSEA): Timber trees: Minor commercial timbers , volume 5 (2). pp. 215-225
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