Durio oxleyanus is a petite, pretty durian with long green spines. It’s powdered sugar sweetness is encased in a creamy, mildly fruity flesh that is totally lacking in durian aroma. It’s a wonder this little-known durian is not the belle of durian markets across Southeast Asia.
durian with long, sometimes curly spikes. The spikes are broader and blunter than
most durians, curving away from the fruit body like stocky tentacles. Rarely growing larger than a one pound (500 grams), and never more than two (1 kilogram), it’s a durian you can easily hold in the palm of one hand. It’s small size and appearance invites comparisons to a green sea urchin.
the flesh is a creamy white or grey tinged with yellow. Each section
cradles only one or two seeds. Even when very ripe, it is nearly
odorless with a saccharine sweetness that makes it extremely popular among even those who normally dislike durian.
The most distinguishing characteristic is that, unlike every other durian, it has only four seeded-sections. All other durians have five.
It’s also important to note that ever accelerating deforestation in the last century has drastically changed the landscape in many areas and where Durio oxleyanus was once plentiful it may be no more.
It was the only durian Griffith would get the chance to name, although later someone would name a durian after him; Durio griffithi. Maybe they felt his story was tragic enough to warrant a monument in nomenclature. Griffith had so deeply fallen in love with the flora of Malaysia that he moved to Malacca to study the plants of the region. He immediately fell ill and died two months later, without making a single collecting trip. In a coincidence that seems bitterly ironic, his namesake durian bears inedible fruit.
Shortly before his death, Griffith published his description and name suggestion in Volume 5 of the Calcutta Journal of Natural History, which you can read for free. The reference to Durio oxleyanus is on page 115.
Growing Durio oxleyanus
- Durio Oxleyanus by TK Lim
- Lignans and Triterpenes from the Bark of Durio Oxleyanus
- Infopedia Singapore – Killiney House
- Dr. Thomas Oxley
- William Griffith
- World Agro Forestry Center – Durio Oxleyanus
- The Genus Durio Adans
- The Species of Durio with Edible Fruits
- Durio, A Bibliographic Review
- Volume 5 of the Calcutta Journal of Natural History