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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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durian Durio zibethinus, a tropical fruit notorious for its taste and smell, either or both of which may provoke reactions ranging from revulsion to adulation.

The large oval fruit grows on a tall tree native to W. Malaysia and cultivated elsewhere in SE Asia. ‘Duri’ is the Malay word for spike, and the tree takes its name from the hard, spiky shell which the fruit develops. A full-grown fruit may weigh 2 kg (5 lb) or more. Since the tree may be as high as 30 m (300') and the fruit drops off when ripe, it is wise to take care when walking near such trees in the durian season. Death by durian is not uncommon. (Another hazard at this time is the appeal the fallen, split fruit has for tigers and other wild animals.)