This durian is one of the more obscure of the durian species. Although it is accepted in the scientific community as a separate species, no one has made a complete description of the fruit. So why am I bothering to write a whole post about it? Because supposedly it tastes good, and that’s what matters. There’s an adventure waiting for anyone wishing to confirm its palatability.
By the way, if you’ve gotten this far, you are officially a durian nerd. Congratulations.
Distribution and Season
This species was collected near the Gong Nangka Vilage near Trengganu. Wyatt-Smith reports that it is common in the Bukit Bauk Reserve in that region. It may also be present in Sarawak, but nobody’s really certain of that.
On rumors and speculation, I would say this species is in season in August. Will need more adventures to confirm.
Durian hantu, Durian ijau laut, Durian burung
I think we can safely say that Durio wyatt-smithii wasn’t named for American professional ice hockey player Wyatt Smith. It seems that Wyatt Smith is a popular name.
Durio wyatt-smithii was named for John Wyatt-Smith, a botanist from this century. His life story is actually pretty astonishing. Born in China, he studied botany in Oxford and was hired with the Malaysian Forestry Department right before World War II. When the Japanese invaded he escaped by boat to Sumatra, traversed the island overland and caught a series of boats to Africa. When the war was over, he returned to Malaysia and discovered this durian.
Who said the 1950’s were boring?
Wyatt-Smith identified this durian as the Durio conicus from Odoardo Beccari’s great monograph. And maybe it is. It’s hard to tell from the sketch provided by Beccari. Back in the day, botanists depended on drawings like this to describe species to each other. No wonder there was so much confusion.
|Beccari’s portrayal, 1889
Durio wyatt-smithii received it’s name from AJGH Kosterman in 1958 to honor Wyatt-Smith’s conservation and forestry work in Malaysia.
Growing Durio Wyatt-Smithii
- Obituary of John Wyatt-Smith, JWS Forestry
- Smithsonian Collections
- The Genus Durio Adans. by AJGH Kosterman
- Material for A Revisions on Malayan Durio with Emphasis on Bornean Species by J Wyatt-Smith