Author Topic: Durio macrantha and the Professor  (Read 48661 times)

Mike T

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Durio macrantha and the Professor
« on: July 04, 2012, 09:21:39 PM »
This species in spite of where it comes from appears to be the most cold and wind tolerant of all the Durios and perhaps the great subtropical hope.Like Russells Sweet Garcinia circumstances conspired to keep it in the shadows.This extract was sent to me today.

DURIO MACRANTHA

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Durio macrantha
FAMILY: Bombacaceae

ABSTRACT
An interesting species of Durio from North Sumatra is described and illustrated from a living specimen growing in Bogor.

Durio macrantha (Kosterm.) Kosterm. This new species, identified in 1992,is native to Sumatra. A fast-growing and precocious tree, it produced a heavy crop of large, high-quality fruit. The arils had the same taste, aroma, and texture as the durian.


In 1981 I received from Mr. H. Rijksen a young durian plant, which he had collected in the Mt. Leuser National Park in North Sumatra. Now 10 years later the plant has grown to a tree of 10 m high in my private garden in Gadok near Bogor, and in July 1991 it started to come in bloom. The flower bunches appeared on the bare branches; it took 4-6 weeks from the initial bud to the mature flower. The tree flowered profusely and within three months new buds appeared continuously. It proved to be an undescribed species of durian.

DURIO MACRANTHA Kosterm., species nova
Tree 10 m tall, dbh. 20 cm. Bark smooth, grey. Crown pyramidal, lowest branch 1m above the forest floor, somewhat drooping. Leaves alternate in one plane, chartaceous, lower side concave, oblong, 5-7.5 x 16-22 cm, gradually acuminate or sub-acuminate, base rounded, above very dark glossy green with minute reticulation, midrib slender, impressed, ribs filiform, prominulous in a groove; below very densely light golden brown lepidote, scales minute, flat with rather irregular margin. Petiole 10-15 mm slender. Flowers on the bare branches, consisting of a short thick main peduncle with few, 2-3 cm long, thick branches, each bearing 2-4 flowers. Pedicels stout, 4-5 cm long, gradually thickened apically. Flower buds initially depressed globose and ultimately subovoid-globose. Calyx urn-shaped, the 5 sepals connate, apically with 5 triangular, acute, 5-7 mm long broad lobes, lepidote outside. Petals free, white, glabrous, large, consisting of a thick, flat, stiff, wide, clawlike part, gradually widened apically and ending in a strongly reflexed much thinner spathulate-orbicular apical part. Stamens in 5 phalanges of 5-7 stamens each, the filaments fused in their basal half, the free parts 2-3 cm long, bearing clumps of one-celled anthers. Ovary oblong, densely minutely lepidote, showing a slight longitudinal furrow. Style reddish, glabrous, rather fleshy, up to 5 cm long, surpassing the stamens, cylindrical with conspicuous capitellate stigma. Fruit immature with numerous very hard and sharp, sub pyramidal thorns, the latter covered by numerous very tiny fimbriate scales.

DISTRIBUTION
Mt. Leuser National Park, North Sumatra, described after a cultivated specimen in the private garden of D. Kostermans in Gadok near Bogor, Java.

PHENOLOGY
Flowers open in the afternoon and drop in pieces during the night. They have no smell and no nectar. Pollinators are perhaps bats and night moths. The flowers had always a few black ants.

The branch basis are surrounded by a high annulus of tissue, free from the branch, as if they had to push the bark aside when developing.

The species is outstanding among the 3 other species so far known by the large flowers. From REINWARDTIA, a journal on taxonomic botany, plant sociology and ecology. Published by Herbarium Bogoriense.
A.J.G.H. KOSTERMANS
Reinwardtia Vol.11, Part 1,1 - 55, 5 February, 1992
Herbarium Bogoriense, Bogor, Indonesia

DATE: March 1994

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Durio macrantha (Kosterm.) Kosterm. This new species, identified in 1992, is native to Sumatra. A fast-growing and precocious tree, it produced a heavy crop of large, high-quality fruit. The arils had the same taste, aroma, and texture as the durian.



• DR KOSTERMANS AND DURIO MACRANTHA

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Durio macrantha
FAMILY: Bombacaceae

Dr AJ Kostermans, famous founder of the herbarium at Bogor Gardens in Java, described this fruit as the "durian of the future" because of its excellent flavour, heavy cropping and lack of strong smell.

Durio macrantha was first discovered in 1981 by Mr. H Rijksen in the Mt Leuser National Park in Northern Sumatra. Only one specimen was collected and it was brought to Bogor and planted in Dr Kostermans' back yard.

Ten years later, in 1991 the tree had grown to a height of 10 metres and started to flower profusely. Flowering continued for 3 months and the tree matured about 40 fruit. This was an excellent first crop for any durian species. The tree continued to crop heavily each year until 1994 when only 4 fruit were produced, probably due to unseasonable weather, according to Dr Kostermans. The tree came from an area where an annual dry season occurs which is necessary for good crop production.

Dr Kostermans decided that the specimen growing in his back yard was sufficiently different from Durio zibethinus, the commercial durian, to be a new species and he named it Durio macrantha.

Although there have been many expeditions to the Mt Leuser National Park since 1981, no more specimens of Durio macrantha have been found. Dr Kostermans' tree is the only known one in cultivation.

In February of 1994 my wife Jacky and I were holidaying in Bali when we received urgent messages from both the CSIRO and Mr. Joe Zappala, asking for our help in trying to obtain grafting material from Dr Kostermans' tree. We learned that the doctor was seriously ill in hospital, and that he feared for the survival of the tree. He wanted grafting material to be taken to Australia where the species could be cared for.

So on 27th February, I flew from Bali to Jakarta, where I visited Dr Kosterman in St Carolus Hospital. We had a wonderfully long talk about his lifelong work in botany, and all the countries he had visited. He told me how he had survived being a prisoner of war working on the infamous Burma Railway. [See the article: 'Botanist Professor Kostermans' in the People, Places and History section.]

After our long talk, I was driven to Dr Kostermans' home near Bogor Gardens by two of his grandsons. I took photographs of the tree and selected some good grafting material. I was also lucky enough to be given the last fruit of the season. We then drove back to the hospital and had another long talk with Dr Kostermans. He told me how he had sponsored 98 children from poor families, to educate them in the fields of horticulture and botany. He always insisted on a strong commitment to work and discipline and to not be afraid to face difficulties and to find solutions. Thirty eight of his sponsored children went on to become doctors, and five others became professors. Most of then now work overseas.

While we talked, there was a constant stream of family and friends coming in to visit the good doctor.

I said goodbye to this marvelous old man and headed for the airport to return to Bali. On our flight home to Cairns, we carried the durian fruit as hand luggage. None of the passengers or crew suspected anything. There was none of the usual strong durian smell. On arrival at Cairns, we found that Joe Zappala had arranged an import license for the grafting material and it was quickly grafted onto young durian trees in the quarantine area. AQIS also allowed us to eat the fruit and keep the seeds. The flavour was excellent, at least equal to popular varieties such as Montong and Gaan Yaow.

After 12 months the grafted trees were allowed out of quarantine. CSIRO got a couple, Joe Zappala got some, and I planted one in my back yard in Cairns. It was sickly for a long time, until extra root stocks were grafted to the base. It is now 3 metres high and very vigorous. It appears to grow strongly on only some Durio zibethinus varieties.

Durio macrantha is now firmly established in North Queensland.

When I said goodbye to Dr Kostermans in St Carolus Hospital, I assured him we would look after this rare durian species.

Dr Kostermans died on 10th July 1994, and is sadly missed by all who knew him.

He can rest in peace knowing his favourite durian in now safe and being cared for in Australia. He was truly a remarkable man.

 

FloridaGreenMan

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2012, 09:52:26 PM »
Great story Mike....Sounds like an amazing Durio fruit that needs to be spread around.   
FloridaGreenMan

Mike T

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2012, 10:22:50 PM »
The part I left out is the trees took the full force of several cyclones including a cat 5 and survived well.The cold hardiness trials showed they laugh at temps in the mid 30's but are yet to be taken to freezing.Single trees are self fertile and produce fruit prolifically in isolation.They now exist only on 1 property I know about and could be lost in Indonesia.It is extraordinary that Kostermans dying wish to save and spread this remarkable plant ie give it to the world has not been fulfilled.

murahilin

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 12:47:37 AM »
So why hasnt anyone propagated this and shared it out yet?

Mike T

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2012, 01:13:17 AM »
 Durians are native to Malaysia and Borneo and a number of varieties were introduced into tropical north Queensland in the 1970s. It is regarded as the King of Tropical Fruit. It is relatively high in protein and this may contribute to its reputation for being an aphrodisiac. It is a fruit of contrasts and consumers either love it or hate it. Once people acquire a taste for this beautiful fruit its pungent odour can become an alluring perfume.

Characteristics Durian is round to oval and typically weighs between 1 kg and 2.5 kg and measures between 20 cm and 30 cm in diameter and 40 cm in length. The golden/greenish skin is covered in hard, sharp spines, which makes accessing the flesh somewhat difficult. The creamy, yellow flesh within is divided into five segments, each containing one to four seeds, and has a texture of rich custard when mature.

Taste Depending on variety and maturity, the pale to creamy yellow, golden flesh can taste like onion or garlic with the texture of custard. Mature fruit has less of an odour and flavour.

Buying and Storing Maturity is indicated when the fruit exudes a strong smell. It is preferable to eat durian fresh, but it can be kept at room temperature for three to five days if the strong smell can be tolerated. Fully ripe, durians split along lines of natural weakness, which are faintly visible among the spines. Durian flesh freezes and stores well and freshly thawed it is a welcome treat during the off-season. Durians grow on large rainforest trees and fall to the ground when ripe.

Preparing and Serving Use a large knife to prise apart the slits at the base of the fruit. Separate the sections, take out the segments and use the flesh from around the seeds to eat fresh or use in jams, cakes and ice creams. The richness of the flesh also makes an excellent addition to hot, spicy foods such as curries and chilli dishes. The fruit is great in mousses, drinks and desserts. Durian seeds can be roasted and eaten like nuts. To remove odour from hands, pour water over the external surface of the fruit skin and wash hands in the runoff. After consuming durian, pour water into the skin cavity of the fruit and drink from it to prevent it repeating on you.

Availability February to March.

Varieties Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai and Australian selections, Monthong, Red Prawn, Gaan Yeow, Durio macrantha, D 175 (Red Prawn) D 190, DPI&F Mon Thong, Hawaiian Mon Thong, Kradum Thong and D 166 (Penang 88).

Acknowledgement The information about avocados is mainly sourced from the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries Queensland publication Tropical Tastes - Fruits, Foods and Flavours of North Queensland and is reproduced with due acknowledgement and authority.

 Above you'll see it rocketed onto the recommended variety list even before it was released.An unprecedented series of cyclones hit the farms where it was grown and the businesses were essentially destroyed.The durian industry was basically finished or close to it. D macrantha was forgotten about on the couple of farms that had it and a leaner durian industry revived without it.It's champions were defeated and it basically went down with the ship prior to being distributed.
 
 
 

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2012, 02:31:43 AM »
Very interesting. I hadn't heard of this species macrantha before. I had heard of some durians that are growing on Borneo and peninsular Malaysia at higher elevations than most. So it's possible that other species besides macrantha could take some cold. I think likelihood of finding a durian that can take cold is a whole lot better than finding a breadfruit or pulasan that can take cold. It's not as ultra tropical as some of the other ones in that durio is more widely adapted within its native range. Just getting the correct materials is the big challenge.
Oscar

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2012, 04:55:13 AM »
Hi Mike,

From what I have read...the king can take some cold. In this climate the Durian tree will survive...but, will be impossible for the tree to produces in these less favorable conditions. I have been reading alot about the Durio genus and learning everything there is to know. I was unaware that the Durio macrantha which is the most beautiful of them all...is cold tolerant 8) I think you can use durio macrantha in breeding to pass along the cold hardy genes to the king...creating crosses that are cold tolerant and of top quality!

Thanks for sharing...MIKE :)
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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2012, 05:15:53 AM »
Yes Steven one of the reasons people made a fuss about it was the breeding possibilities.Being a relative dwarf and self fertile also raised eyebrows.I am surprised no one bothered to spread the seeds around and press macrantha until it cracked.If I get some seeds I will try to ensure it's family tree does not become a stump because it should have a bright future.

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2012, 12:41:12 PM »
Incredible find Mike, definitely something to be cherished and saved (and distributed :) ).  Now on the hunt for seeds!

thanks for the hope,
-Ethan

Mike T

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2014, 07:00:27 PM »
I know this is an old thread but I have news. At least 2 fruit were produced by Durio macrantha on the only farm with fruiting trees. Considering how close to extinction this species is that is great news. While Professor Kostermans considered it his white whale for many reasons his wished that it be saved are still alive. Whether it is the closest thing to the ancestor of domestic durians, can really thrive in the subtropics, is fabulous to eat or has great disease and cyclone resistance is beyond the point when it just needs to survive.
They are almost certainly extinct in the wild from what I have been able to tell and this once great hope for durians is done with yet.I am trying to get hold of one of the fruit which will be les likely than a UFO landing in the driveway but the wheels are in motion and I am a wily fox.

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2014, 07:18:12 PM »
I know this is an old thread but I have news. At least 2 fruit were produced by Durio macrantha on the only farm with fruiting trees. Considering how close to extinction this species is that is great news. While Professor Kostermans considered it his white whale for many reasons his wished that it be saved are still alive. Whether it is the closest thing to the ancestor of domestic durians, can really thrive in the subtropics, is fabulous to eat or has great disease and cyclone resistance is beyond the point when it just needs to survive.
They are almost certainly extinct in the wild from what I have been able to tell and this once great hope for durians is done with yet.I am trying to get hold of one of the fruit which will be les likely than a UFO landing in the driveway but the wheels are in motion and I am a wily fox.
Awesome news Mike! I thought I would never hear about durio macrantha again! Do you think you would be able to share some of the seeds by any chance? I guess they will be just few of them and too precious to risk sending right?
You say that this farm is the only farm growing macrantha?
Durian & avocado lover

Mike T

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2014, 07:40:03 PM »
Vik the fact that it is a small cold tolerant tree with fruit that has no aroma excited people over 20 years ago.Those who tasted it claimed it was as good as cultivated zibethinus cultivars like monthong. It was immediately placed at the head of the governments' recommended durian variety list for planting by commercial growers. Suddenly a series of cyclone and human frailty changed everything. In 2006 and 2011 the survivors got hit by 2 monster cyclones and D.macrantha seemed lost.Some survived.
Old timers involved with getting it here in the first place speak about this species in hushed tones out of respect and speak of it in the past tense like it has gone.
If I get seeds there won't be many and I might plant one and send the rest to somewhere safe and stable overseas.It needs some 'air time' and a chance to shine because it seems to have great characteristics.

Vlk

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2014, 09:09:10 PM »
Vik the fact that it is a small cold tolerant tree with fruit that has no aroma excited people over 20 years ago.Those who tasted it claimed it was as good as cultivated zibethinus cultivars like monthong. It was immediately placed at the head of the governments' recommended durian variety list for planting by commercial growers. Suddenly a series of cyclone and human frailty changed everything. In 2006 and 2011 the survivors got hit by 2 monster cyclones and D.macrantha seemed lost.Some survived.
Old timers involved with getting it here in the first place speak about this species in hushed tones out of respect and speak of it in the past tense like it has gone.
If I get seeds there won't be many and I might plant one and send the rest to somewhere safe and stable overseas.It needs some 'air time' and a chance to shine because it seems to have great characteristics.
I will keep my fingers crossed for you then :-) Hopefully, you would be able to get the seeds and continue the propagation of this amazing specie :-) I myself hope that I would be able to include macrantha in my durian collection one day :-)
Durian & avocado lover

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2014, 09:31:16 PM »
I know this is an old thread but I have news. At least 2 fruit were produced by Durio macrantha on the only farm with fruiting trees. Considering how close to extinction this species is that is great news. While Professor Kostermans considered it his white whale for many reasons his wished that it be saved are still alive. Whether it is the closest thing to the ancestor of domestic durians, can really thrive in the subtropics, is fabulous to eat or has great disease and cyclone resistance is beyond the point when it just needs to survive.
They are almost certainly extinct in the wild from what I have been able to tell and this once great hope for durians is done with yet.I am trying to get hold of one of the fruit which will be les likely than a UFO landing in the driveway but the wheels are in motion and I am a wily fox.

We should make a petition and all of us forumites sign it for you to get that fruit: M&M-Mike and Macrantha!

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 09:51:04 PM »
Mike great news to hear it still out there. Wish you the best of luck of obtaining seeds and hopefully future seedlings. I am sure you will find plenty of people on this forum who would insure that the tree survives and seeds are shared in the future.
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Mike T

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2014, 11:47:59 PM »
What prompted me to revive this thread was the fact that a friend who knows the grower told me about the fruit being on the tree.There are 20 fruit on one tree and I immediately sent my tentacles out to secure fruit.

Well a chum just visited and you could knock me down with a feather. The impossible has happened.



It looks like a 1.6kg D.zibethinus but this is the real deal D.macrantha and maybe the first picture of a mature fruit.
There is an aroma but much milder than any zibethinus but similar. The peduncle (fruit stalk) is vey thin.
Let's cut it open and hope for seeds.




Wow what white creamy flesh and there are seeds there.
Taste is great like a good thai durian.It is what it promised to be.Flesh yield is less than cultivated zibethinus varieties but not by that much.
I have 6 seeds as some were withered.

Mike T

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2014, 11:52:04 PM »




The auto focus on the camera is playing up and it can't be adjusted. Here are 2 other attempts at getting a clear picture.

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2014, 11:52:28 PM »
Congratulation Mike on your tenacity finally paying off, so plant those seeds & let us know its characteristics! ;D
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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2014, 12:37:03 AM »
Mike, to insure survival of the species send those seeds to forum members on the Big Island in Hawaii. There are 3 serious people I can think of on the suitable wet side . Or to any committed person in true tropics. Pet projects in subtropics can wait for the next batch. You don't know when big cyclone can wipe them out forever. By the way, I'm not asking for any. I'll wait last in line :)

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2014, 04:04:41 AM »
Wow, awesome Mike! Congratulations on getting the fruit! And thank you for sharing the pictures! :-)It really looks like small zibethinus. Will you also post pictures of the seeds? :-) Good luck with the germination! And I agree with DurianLover - it will be best to send the seeds first to growers in the true tropics to ensure the seeds will grow to big healthy trees which would able to yield fruit and will be "safe catch" for this rare specie!
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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2014, 04:14:13 AM »
The long awaited moment! Looking good. Congrats!! Would be nice to get more detailed flavor report. Were all the fruits on the tree small like that?
Oscar

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2014, 05:01:35 AM »
Oscar I did not see the tree as the fruit was delivered. The good news is I have a second fruit coming my way that is 1.8kg compared to 1.6kg for this one.It looks a little smaller in the photo than real life and references say to 2kg. Many Malaysian D,zibethibus cultivars are similar in weight.

The taste is like a thai rather than a Malaysian durian with a very mild aroma. There is less of the qualities that people refer to as onion, rotten cabbage, blue vein cheese and it would be appealing to a western palate being sweet and complex still.If you took a monthong and screened out a few elements it would be close.I might be selling the taste short as it is very good. It is better than many D.zibethinus cultivars and a really tasty fruit.

Well that is one white whale bagged after slipping through my fingers many times over the years. I suppose I have hyped this fruit for a lot of reasons including the chase. Not everyone will share my enthusiasm I know. 

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2014, 08:14:24 AM »
Mike T the enthusiasm of the chase is what keep us going in this benevolent hobby.  Chasing that white whale is not about the whale, its all about sharing that phantom whale to the present & future forumites; we greatly appreciate as always your sense of humor & enlightening us with all your cryptic fruits no soul have ever heard this side of the Pacific on discovery in your backyard; keep on trucking that Aussie's perspective on an often heavily sedated American dominated forum.  Finally the Holy Grail Taste Bud of all Durian; a Durian for White Guys!! :D ;D  :blank:  ;D
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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2014, 08:30:44 AM »
Oscar I did not see the tree as the fruit was delivered. The good news is I have a second fruit coming my way that is 1.8kg compared to 1.6kg for this one.It looks a little smaller in the photo than real life and references say to 2kg. Many Malaysian D,zibethibus cultivars are similar in weight.

The taste is like a thai rather than a Malaysian durian with a very mild aroma. There is less of the qualities that people refer to as onion, rotten cabbage, blue vein cheese and it would be appealing to a western palate being sweet and complex still.If you took a monthong and screened out a few elements it would be close.I might be selling the taste short as it is very good. It is better than many D.zibethinus cultivars and a really tasty fruit.

Well that is one white whale bagged after slipping through my fingers many times over the years. I suppose I have hyped this fruit for a lot of reasons including the chase. Not everyone will share my enthusiasm I know.

Good to hear Mike, and thanks for documenting the fruit with great photos as always!

Søren
Kampala, Uganda

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Re: Durio macrantha and the Professor
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2014, 11:13:58 AM »
The second 1.8kg fruit of Durio macrantha was delivered and consumed tonight without further pictures. It was eaten with a durian loving chum who declared it an excellent durian.There was more aroma than the previous fruit and a richer taste as it was riper. The verdict was that it was of very good taste, with good flesh yield and more like D.zibethinus monthong than expected. Only 4 developed seeds meant that there was lots of the rich white flesh.There is no doubt it could stand alone as a top durian variety even though is a different species.