|Photo credit to Anthony Lamb
Of all the durian species on Borneo, I was the most excited about Durio grandiflorus, known locally as the ghost durian. I didn’t believe that finding it would be hard, as it apparently grows all over Borneo. I was much more concerned about finding the admittedly rare Durio testudinarum and Durio dulcis. But this is the most elusive of durians. Although we searched Sabah, Sarawak, and Kalimantan, Durio grandiflorus evaded us. Not even my botany contacts have a picture. Ghost durian indeed.
|sketch by Masters
Although it’s not very relevant to the gustatory pleasure of the fruit, one interesting thing about Durio grandiflorus is its relationship with Spiderhunters. Unlike most durians, which are pollinated at night by bats, this durian depends on these spunky little birds to reproduce.
Distribution and Season
durian munjit (monkey durian), durian hantu hutan (forest phantom), Sukang (Sungei)
|Durio grandiflorus specimen. Boring.
Durio grandiflorus started it’s career in the scientific world as Boschia grandiflora, the name given by Maxwell T. Masters from the comfort of his English home. Masters was the curator of an herbarium in Oxford, and had many specimens sent to him from all over the world. At some point he received a sample of a very large flower, which he notes was very similar to a durian flower. “Grandiflora” is latin for large flower. At the time, the fruit was unknown.
It remained as a boschia until the genus was scrapped in 1958 and all the former Boschia were promoted to Durio status.
Growing Durio Grandiflorus
This durian is not cultivated or used as rootstock, so very little is known about it. It’s a medium sized tree around 30 meters tall. It grows up to 500 meters elevation.