Durio zibethinus grows to a height of 27 to 40 meters in the wild. The tree has a straight trunk typically 1.2m in diameter. The crown is irregular and densely packed with branches that support oblong evergreen leaves which are six to 25 centimeters in length and two to nine cm in width. These leaves are a glossy green with a point at the apex. The flower of the D. zibethinus is described as malodorous and yellowish cream in color. The flower has five sepals and three petals, with many stamen and a single stigma. The flowers bloom at night and are formed in pendant like clusters of three to thirty blooms. When pollinated the flowers form a fruit commonly known as a durian.
The fruit releases an odor when ripe that makes it that many consumers find offensive. A tough yellow-green, semi woody rind with sharp spines covers the fruit. The irregular ovoid fruits are 15 to 30cm in length and 12 to 15cm in width. Weights of up to eight kilograms are not uncommon. Inside the rind, five compartments house the creamy white to yellow to orange flesh. The flesh is described as having a rich custard texture and tasting heavily of almonds. The odorous fruit has one to seven seeds within the flesh which are two to six centimeters in length and have a shape and texture similar to an avocado pit (Morton, 1987).
While studies have shown that bees can be used to pollinate cultivated trees the flower of the wild type D. zibethinus are pollinated primarily by fruit bats (Bumrungsri, 2009). In rural villages within the durian's natural range a harvesting culture has developed. The villagers build huts around the trees to maximize the fruits collected as they drop. The villagers also set traps around the trees to catch animals and birds which are attracted by the fruits odors (Subhadrabandhu, 2001). The fruits of the D. zibethinus have been known to harm people who unlucky enough to be under one when the fruit drops from its branch. In many places it is customary to wear hardhats while collecting the fruit off the ground; as an added precaution countries such as Indonesia place signs around the trees warning residents and tourists of the falling fruits (Vaisutis, 2007).
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