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Durio griffithii (Mast.) Bakh.
Newsletter
Durio griffithii (Mast.) Bakh.

Basionym: Boschia griffithii Mast.

Synonyms: Boschia acutifolia Mast., Boschia oblongifolia Ridl., Durio acutifolius (Mast.) Kosterm.

Durio griffithii (Mast.) Bakh. formerly included in the Bombacaceae is currently placed in the family Malvaceae subfam. Helicteroideae-Durioneae. The species is named in honour of William Griffith (1810–1845), a surgeon in the British East India Company, an explorer-naturalist of the eastern Himalaya, Tenasserim and Malacca. D. griffithii is a ramiflorous species that produces inflorescences and infructescences along a big branches. The spesies are flowering and fruiting throughout the year and when ripe, the fruits split on the tree and the seeds fall to the ground. According to Kostermans (1958), the inner fruits are glossy, whitish, papery layer of the valves often detaches when drying and the fruits are eaten by monkeys, which are disperse the seeds.

D. griffithii is a small to medium-sized tree that reaches about 30 m tall and 150 cm diameter. The outer bark is greyish brown to reddish brown, smooth, becoming rough and shallowly fissured and flaky while the inner bark is pale yellow, pink, red to reddish brown and the sapwood are white to yellowish white or pink. The leaves are dark-green, glabrous and glossy above, densely minutely appressed silvery-brown scaly below, alternate, coriaceous to chartaceous; the blades are elliptic-oblong to obovate-oblong, measuring about (5–)12.5(–26) × (2–)5(–10) cm, acute to rounded and sometimes slightly cordate at the base and abruptly pointed at the apex. The flower buds of D. griffithii are ovoid or conical, about 3 mm long and densely covered with brownish scales outside. The epicalyx is persistent, green, 2-lobed, broadly ovate, concave, slightly acute, about 9 mm long and 5 mm wide, covered with fimbriate scales outside and stellate hairs inside. The calyx are 3–4 lobes, lanceolate, about 10 mm long and 4 mm wide, acute apex, densely covered with fimbriate scales outside and whitish stellate hairs especially near apex inside. The petals are 5–6, linear to linear spathulate, about 10 mm long and 1 mm wide, glabrous, yellowish white or green-white and turning to orange after anthesis. The staminodes all free, about 1 cm long, with a small ovoid, sterile anther at apex. The stamens are many, about 1 cm long and each with 4–6 obovoid prodehiscent anthers. The ovary are ovoid, covered with slender spines and fimbriate scales outside, while the style are yellowish, glabrous or sometimes covered with sparsely fimbriate scales towards apex. The stigma are subcapitellate and glabrous. The fruits are ellipsoid-obovoid, acute at both ends, measuring about 6 cm long and 2 cm wide, dehiscing into 2–3 locules while still attached on the tree and covered with a sharp pyramidal glabrous spines. The seeds are ovoid, about 3–3.5 cm long and the aril are thin, orange or red and covering only the basal part of the seeds.

D. griffithii is distributed in Peninsular Malaysia (Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Selangor and Terengganu) and also can be found in Sumatera and Borneo (Sabah, Sarawak, Kalimantan and Brunei). Locally, this species is known as durian kuning or durian tupai (in Malay) and can be found widespread on a variety of soil types such as sandy soil, sandstone and limestone in primary forest, open country, flat land to ridges, hillslopes and hilltops up to 915 m above sea level.

D. griffithii are quite similar with D. acutifolius based on flower and fruit characters. This was the reason Bakhuizen (1924) reduced D. acutifolius to a variety of D. griffithii. However, Kostermans (1958) recognized D. acutifolius and D. griffithii as two distinct species and Salma (2011) agrees with Bakhuizen that D. acutifolius should be reduced to a variety of D. griffithii. In the present study, we discovered that the distinct distinguished character of the indumentums as stated by Kostermans (1958) and Salma (2011) cannot be maintained because they are some specimens (e.g., S 22134, S 13583, SAN 16030, SAN 19750, SAN 24231, SAN 34341, SAN 34716, SAN 47236, SAN 74308, SAN 86626, SAN 90843, SAN 92015 and SAN 149418) being an intermediate characters of the indumentums from very dense fimbriate scales to very sparse fimbriate scales on the lower surface of the leaves. Therefore, we consider that D. acutifolius as a synonym of D. griffithii.

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