Varieties of durian

General characteristics
1. Durian is a perennial tree that can be cultivated in tropical rain forest and bears fruit after 4-5 years, depending on the variety. Its life can last from 80 to 100 years with the trunk diameter of 1.5-4.0 feet and height over 70-80 feet. Durian is classified as soft wood.



2. The fruit has a strong odor and distinct flavor. The skin has a spiny covering that turns from green to brown when ripe. Each fruit usually contains 5 locules with brown seeds covered with a thick, creamy, sweet, yellow flesh that is loved by Thai people. It is a prestigious and prized fruit due to its unique appearance and excellent aroma. It is widely known in Asia as the king of tropical fruits.



The popular varieties of durian
1. Durian is a fruit native to Thailand originally from the South. Later,it spread reaching the central region of Bangkok, Thonburi and Nonthaburi. Durian grown around this area is very famous and considered the best due to the area being fertile with sufficient water.
2. As the central region is the center of prosperity of the country, durian has been improved in quality with so many different varieties and spread out to replace the local varieties in the East and South during the last 40 years. The problems of disease, climate and marketing caused the grower to plant fewer suitable varieties that bear good fruit, are disease resistant and bring a good price.
3. Nowadays Thailand is the home of durian with about 200 varieties under study, selection and improvement. This is done to promote cultivation as an export later. The varieties that are favorite among the growers and consumers alike are four types: Chanee, Monthong, Kanyao and Kradumthong.

Spread of the good varieties to neighboring countries.
The two varieties that are favorite among the consumers are Chanee and Monthong. Both have been continuously developed as the best quality in Thailand. They have been introduced to nearby countries. In Indonesia, the Kani variety is originated from Chanee and Otong a direct scion of Monthong of Thailand. In Malaysia, the D99 has its origin from Thai durian. In the Philippines, Chanee and Monthong are grown widely.


Naming of durian variety
In the past, the grower grew durian by seed in which the new plants are usually not true to type. In this way new varieties were created, and good ones were named usually according to their appearance, shape, pulp color or locality. There are some stories about the origin of different names that can be traced in some major varieties as follows:

1. It is believed the "Chanee" or Gibbon took its name because the fruit tends to stick at the end of branches looking like a gibbon hanging on a tree.
2. "Monthong" or Golden Pillow. In Thai, Mon means "pillow" and Thong means "Gold" . The Monthong is named for its fruit appearance. It is said to be shaped like a pillow while the delicious pulp is a golden yellow.
3. "Kanyao" (Long Peduncle). In Thai, Kan means "Peduncle" while Yao means "Long". So its name derivation is consistent with the outside appearance, which the peduncle is rather longer than other varieties.
4. "Kradumthong" or Golden Button. In Thai, Kradum means "button" while Thong means "Gold" as its bud is small and round looking like a button of an old style Chinese shirt with good taste. So they named it for the shape and taste as Kradumthong.

Types of durian
All durian varieties can be classified according to time from the bloom of their flowers to harvest. There are 3 types, the early types that mature in about 95-105 days are Luang and Kradumthong. They are harvested early in the season so they generally fetch a higher price. The medium types with a maturation period between 105-120 days are Kanyao, Monthong and Chanee. These medium varieties are mass produced and marketed in the peak when the price is rather low. The late types which reach maturity in more than 120 days are Enak and Kampan that are nominally grown.


Fruit characteristics of major durian
Each durian variety has unique characteristics. For Chanee, Monthong, Kanyao and Kradumthong which are classified by Ms Sing Ching Tongdee from Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research have features as follows:


CHA - NEE


Fruit :
- Shape: Ellipsoidal , Ovate , Oblong
- Size: Medium
- Weight: 2.0 - 3.5 kg.
- Average: 2.5 kg.
Rind :
- Spine shape: Concave
- Colour: Green
- Average thickness: 1.1 cm.
Length of fruit stalk : : Very short (<5 cm.) to short
Aril :
- Colour and texture : Golden yellow creamy firm, become meshy when over-ripe
- Taste : Sweet , strong fragrance sweet-bitter when over - ripe
- Thickness : Moderate to thick
Seed : Medium to aborted
Days full bloom to harvest : 90 - 100

MON - THONG


Fruit :
- Shape: Oblong,ovate Commonly with depressed pointed end
- Size: Medium to large
- Weight: 2.0 - 4.5 kg.
- Average: 3 kg.
Rind :
- Spine shape: Pointed to hooked
- Colour: Rusty Green
- Average thickness: 1.25 cm.
Length of fruit stalk : : Short
Aril :
- Colour and texture : Pale yellow firm
- Taste : Delicate sweet
- Thickness : Thick
Seed : Mostly aborted
Days full bloom to harvest : 120 - 135

KAN - YAO


Fruit :
- Shape: Rounded, Obovate, Oblate
- Size: Medium
- Weight: 2.0 - 3.5 kg.
- Average: 3 kg.
Rind :
- Spine shape: Convex
- Colour: Green
- Average thickness: 1.45 cm.
Length of fruit stalk : : Long (8-12 cm.) to very long (> 12 cm.)
Aril :
- Colour and texture : Yellow,creamy firm
- Taste : Sweet
- Thickness : Moderate
Seed : Large
Days full bloom to harvest : 120 - 135

KRA-DUM-THONG


Fruit :
- Shape: Oblate , ovoid
- Size: Small to medium
- Weight: 1.5 - 3 kg.
- Average: 2 kg.
Rind :
- Spine shape: Convex - pointed, Concave - pointed
- Colour: Green
- Average thickness: < 1.0 cm.
Length of fruit stalk : : Short (5 to 8 cm.)
Aril :
- Colour and texture : Yellow , firm
- Taste : Sweet
- Thickness : Moderate
Seed : Large to medium
Days full bloom to harvest : 90 - 100