Durian, a strong-smelling savoury, creamy fruit, is popular in South East Asia. The fruit can be found on various trees that belong to the genus Durio. Out of the thirty recognized species in this genius, only seven produce edible fruits and beautiful flowers. While a lot is known about the durian fruit, very few people know about the flowers that grow on durian trees.
Durian flower shape and size
Durian flowers are known for their distinct shapes and sizes. These flowers have five petals, each round in shape. Four or six petals can only be found in rare durian flowers, and therefore, if you find one, it would be worthwhile to save it. The diameter of a durian flower is between five to eight centimeters.
Durian trees can grow up to 25-50 meters tall, depending upon the species. The leaves of the durian trees are elliptical or oblong in shape and grow to be 10-18 centimeters long.
Durian flowers grow on large, evergreen trees in clusters. Depending upon how long they’re allowed to grow, these clusters can be as small as three, or as large as thirty. Unlike many trees, the durian flower can grow on both the branches of the tree, as well as directly on the trunk of the tree. These flowers can only grow on branches or stems that can carry the weight of the large Durian fruit that grows.
Durian flowers have varied flowering seasons around the globe, but most durian trees flower twice a year. These can be seen in fall and spring when the flowers grow in clusters on the tree. The colour of durian flowers can range from pale-green to white to ivory. Some wild durian trees grow a variety of dark red flowers that are added to durian flower bouquets to stand out.
Durian flowers are a popular addition to wedding bouquets and gift bouquets because of their varied colour options, sweet smell and aromatic nectar.
Interesting facts and information about durian fruit and flower
- Durian is the King of all fruits. Durian has been dubbed the King of Fruits due to its peculiar taste and pungent smell. While the fruit varies in size, it is generally a circular or oblong fruit. The colouring of the fruit varies from green to greenish-yellow. The fruit has been used in popular pastries and food items and usually adds a tangy-sweet, yet creamy taste to the food.
- Durian flowers have the highest nectar quantity. durian flowers have the highest ratio of nectar quantity to size among all flowers. The pungent smell of the nectar is used to attract bats and bees who act as the main pollinators for these plants. This high nectar quantity is the primary reason why durian fruits have high sugar quantity and are advised to eat moderately.
- Durian fruit can weigh up to seven pounds. Durian is among the largest fruits in the world and can weigh up to (or more than) seven pounds when fully matured. Therefore, if durian fruit were to fall on anyone, the weight combined with the spikes of the fruit can cause serious injury.
- Durian tree takes five years to flower. Durian trees can easily be planted by sowing seeds or by grafting. However, even after complete maturation, durian trees take five years or more to flower. They can take longer to grow fruits. Durian trees can then grow fruits for three months – from June to August.
- The quality of Durian fruit depends on age. Despite taking five years to produce fruits and flowers, the quality of the fruit on a durian tree is dependent entirely on the age of the tree. The older the tree, the brighter its flowers. It produces sweeter nectars, hence better fruits.
- Durian flowers are underrated. Durian flowers are highly overlooked because of their fruits. While durian fruit is used in many culinary experiments, durian fruits are ignored. The prejudice that durian fruit is ‘difficult’ to cook with is another reason why durian flowers are added to very few dishes.
7. Durian trees can last up to 150 years. Durian trees are among the oldest to live on earth. With proper care and pollination, durian trees can live to be the age of 90. Wild durian trees in tropical forests can live to the age of 150. It is one of the reasons why durian is known as a perennial plant.
8. ‘Durian’ means ‘thorns’. The name ‘durian’ has its roots in Malaysian Bahasa. ‘Duri’ means thorns, a homage to the outer, sharp covering of the fruit that hides the treasure within.
9. Durian was discovered very recently. Despite being among the oldest trees in the world, Durian fruit and flowers weren’t documented until the late 15th century. They were documented by Niccolo Da Conti, an Italian merchant and writer, during his travels in South East Asia.
10. Durian trees are strictly tropical. Durian trees can only grow in tropical forests. If the temperature of the environment drops below 22℃, the trees won’t grow. If the tree is exposed to lower temperatures for a longer period, the tree dies and cannot be resurrected.
What are the benefits of durian?
Finding durian flower benefits is among the easiest things to do simply because durian flowers and fruit have a vast range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Due to the high quantities of protein, Vitamin C, Vitamin B and antioxidants, Durian fruits and flowers have various health benefits.
The most common durian flower benefits are as follows:
- It supports the formation of red blood cells.
- It improves the nervous and immune systems.
- The high protein levels aid in digestion and constipation.
- Durian fruit can be consumed to reduce bloating, heartburn, flatulence, cramps and blood cholesterol.
- Regularly consuming durian fruit can reduce the chances of infertility in both men and women.
- Durian has high levels of copper, magnesium, potassium and manganese which help increase bone and muscle strength.
- Durian also contains calcium and phosphorous, two elements that are required to make gums and teeth strong.
- The high quantity of antioxidants help reverse the signs of premature ageing and delay age spots, hair loss and tooth loosening.
- Durian fruit can help migraine patients. It contains riboflavin which is prescribed by many doctors.
- The high bilirubin levels help jaundice and fever patients regain their strength.
Why is Durian banned in Singapore?
It is a common misconception that durian fruits are banned in Singapore. The fact of the matter is, eating durian fruit in public is Banned in Singapore. Due to its strong smell, eating durian fruit in public is restricted. Trains, buses and flights forbid the transport of durian fruit. Several Singaporean cab drivers also restrict passengers that carry durian.
Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan are among the few South Asian Countries that have banned fruit in public transport. This decision is taken majorly because the pungent smell left behind when the cling wraps are removed is difficult to diffuse. The smell can further cause discomfort to the international tourists and other locals who dislike the smell.
Public transport vehicles, including cabs, have bright signs on them that inform you whether you can carry durian in the vehicle or not.
Unfortunately, these flowers can turn brown within hours of being picked. Therefore, if you’re planning to buy these flowers locally, opt for same-day delivery in Singapore.
How do you preserve durian flowers?
Durian flowers are a popular cuisine in Singapore. They can be paired with okra, shrimp, tempura, coconut milk and many other ingredients. However, because of their quick oxidation and short flowering period, preserving durian flowers is a popular custom in Singapore.
Durian flowers can be preserved in three simple steps:
- Cleaning. Durian flowers cannot be preserved or washed directly. Instead, you will first have to clean the flower of all the pollen. Remove the anthers and stigma from each flower because they can make a dish slimy and bitter. An easy way to remember this step is to remove all flower parts except the creamy yellow petals and the sepal.
- Blanching. The best way to wash your flower is by blanching them. The flowers can be blanched for 1-3 minutes in boiling water. Once the flowers are blanched, they can be removed and washed in cold water.
- Preserving. The flowers can be stored as-is in the refrigerator. The durian flowers cannot be store in the freezer because they lose their flavour and turn rubbery. The stored durian flowers should be used within 3-5 days.
Transporting Durian in Singapore is not an easy task, however, if cooked properly, these can make a huge splash.
How do you cook durian flowers?
Durian flowers taste best when they are fresh. So, while you can use flowers that are refrigerated and 3-5 days old, they will taste best when they are fresh. Durian flowers are used in various stir fries, curries and sambals. Here are our top three recipes for durian flowers!
- With plain rice. Since durian flowers have a strong taste, they can be eaten directly with plain rice. You can deep fry the flowers until they are golden brown and crispy. This dish is popularly served with any spicy and sticky sauce.
- With Sambal Belacan. Sambal Belacan is a popular Malaysian dish. You can make sambal belacan with chillies, shrimp paste, lime juice and sugar. This sambal can then be mixed with fried durian flowers. The sambal can also be served with plain rice or added in water to make a broth for noodles.
- Durian flower salad. Durian flowers can be eaten like any other vegetable. Durian flower salads can be made with lettuce, tomatoes, chilli, garlic, lime and vinegar. Once you have blanched the durian flower, you can either cut it into smaller pieces or mix it directly into the salad. You can also dip your durian flowers directly into the lime juice to enhance its flavours and remove any remaining stickiness.
- Durian flower curry. The base of the curry is made with onions, garlic, curry leaves, chillies and tomatoes. The raw flowers are then cooked in this curry so that they can absorb the flavour. In various parts of South Asia, various meats are added to the curry. You can add pork, beef, bacon or chicken to the dish, depending upon your preference.
Durian flower recipes cannot be made and stored. Therefore, if you’re planning to cook the flowers, asking for a same-day durian delivery might be the best way to get maximum flavours into the dish.
Durian flowers are an underrated ingredient. While durian fruit can hijack the taste of any dish, durian flowers are a delicate ingredient. They aren’t as overpowering as the fruit and instead, act as an enhancer. There are hundreds of durian flower recipes in South Asia, and all of them bring out the unique flavour of the flower.
Rarest durian flower
Durian flowers are currently labelled ‘rare’ because of their short availability. Even though the durian trees flower twice a year, the flowers remain edible for only a short period. This, compared with the edibility of other flowers, has become the primary reason why durian flowers are considered rare.
However, these flowers can be a wonderful addition to any bouquet or flower arrangement. If you’re planning to use durian flowers, we recommend finding a durian flower delivery in Singapore that will provide you with fresh flowers on the same day they were hand-picked.