Behold, the durian – a.k.a the King of Fruits. A staple food in Southeast Asian culture (and possibly a power source), the durian is known for its signature characteristics such as its soft, sweet yet pungent smelling flesh and its thorny exterior. Recognised around the world for being the smelly and more intimidating version of a pineapple, I bet it would shock you that ‘bald’ durians actually exist…
I know what you must be thinking… “What the heck is a bald durian?” Well, it’s essentially a thornless durian with a smooth exterior. If you think that sounds weird, wait ’till you actually see this abomination.
According to Gregori Garnadi Hambalim, a botanist with the Mekarsari Fruit Garden in Indonesia, he claims that the durian’s abnormal appearance might be the result of either a natural mutation or recessive genes. Hambali notes that “the chances of this happening are very small… only one in a million”. This means that the probability of encountering this weaksauce version of our King of Fruits at regular D24 stalls is probably zero.
According to South China Morning Post, the first recorded bald durian was discovered in Lombok, Indonesia back in the year 2007 where it was spotted in a villager’s yard growing on a tree alongside other regular spiked durians. I bet it must’ve felt like the black sheep of the family…
The villager and his family were initially hesitant to taste the bald durian believing it to be poisonous but finally did after another one sprouted the following season. Disappointingly, the bald durian tasted identical to the regular-thorny one.
Local agriculture officials were then informed about the discovery and took several cuttings from the tree to study it. They tried to reproduce the strange fruit in the backyard of their complex and took them about 12 years before successfully getting the result they had hoped for.
“Thank God. From 50 trees… one finally bore bald durian fruit” exclaimed Maisin, head of seed inspection and certification in the West Nusa Tenggara province. He explained that only two per cent of blossoms that sprouted on a single tree turned into bald durians while the remainder withered and died, producing no fruit at all.
Other organisations such as the Mekarsari Fruit Garden and the University of Mataram’s faculty of agriculture have also tried to produce bald durians to no avail thus far. The rarity of these bald durians makes it seem like a fruit worth searching for (or reproducing yourself if you have the patience).
However, I don’t understand why anyone would opt for a bald durian when we all know the thorny appearance is what makes it the most badass fruit in the fruit kingdom. Also, a bald durian just has an uncanny resemblance to a certain body part that I shall not name…
(*Featured image taken from South China Morning Post)
For more weird finds, choose JUICE.