Durian

Scientific name

Durio spp., Neesia spp., Bombax spp., Coelostegia spp., Kostermansia spp. Family: Bombaceae

Local names

Derian, duriat, dian, dulian, dulen, rulen durene, tureno, turian, jatu, kadu (Indonesia), punggai (Malaysia), bengang (Neesia spp., Sarawak)

Description and natural occurrence

Total tree height is 40 m with a clear bole to 25 m and diameter from 1.0 to 2.0 m. The rough bark varies in colour from brown to dark red, and decorticates at irregular intervals. Many species of durian have low buttresses.

The trees occur throughout Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia. In many of these areas the durian fruit (which, despite its offensive smell, is considered a delicacy), is harvested every October/November. Ash of the fruit rind is used for bleaching silk.

Small quantities imported to Australia.

Wood appearance

Colour. Heartwood is pink-brown to deep, red-brown. Sapwood is lighter coloured and distinct in most species.

Grain. The grain varies between species from straight to interlocked. Texture is coarse and often uneven.

Wood properties

Density. 575-640 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 1.6 to 1.8 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.

Strength groups. S4 unseasoned; SD4 seasoned.

Stress grades. F7, F8, F11, F14 (unseasoned), F11, F14, F17, F22 (seasoned), when visually stress-graded in accordance with AS 2082-2000, Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes.

Joint groups. JD4 seasoned.

Shrinkage to 12% MC. Shrinkage varies between species. Durio spp. approximately 4.0% (tangential) and 3.0% (radial); Neesia spp. approximately 2.0% (tangential) and 1.0% (radial).

Unit shrinkage. Not available.

Durability above-ground. Class 4 - life expectancy less than 7 years.

Durability in-ground. Class 4 - life expectancy less than 5 years.

Lyctine susceptibility. Untreated sapwood is susceptible to lyctid borer attack.

Termite resistance. Not resistant.

Preservation. Sapwood readily accepts preservative impregnation.

Seasoning. Durian seasons rapidly but has a tendency to cup. Use of weights and close sticker spacings are recommended to minimise degrade.

Hardness. Firm (rated 4 on a 6 class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools.

Machining. Machines well, however turning produces a slightly rough surface.

Fixing. Nails well.

Gluing. Can be satisfactorily bonded using standard procedures.

Finishing. Seasoned timber readily accepts paint, stain and polish.

Uses

Construction. Light construction, plywood.

Decorative. Furniture, joinery, panelling, veneer.

Others. Clogs.

Identification features

General characteristics

Sapwood. White to pale pink-brown, distinct from heartwood.

Heartwood. Pink-brown to deep red brown.

Texture. Medium to coarse.

Wood structure

Vessels. Radial multiples of two to three, tending to oval in shape, visible to naked eye.

Rays. Prominent on quarter.

Other features

Texture. Some species are greasy to touch.

Odour. Wood has characteristic unpleasant odour when freshly sawn.

Further reading

Hopewell, G (ed.) 2006, 'Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland, Class 1 and Class 10 buildings', books 1 and 2, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.

Ilic, J 1991, 'CSIRO atlas of hardwoods', Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.

Standards Australia, 2000, 'AS 2082-2000: Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes', Standards Australia.

Last updated 04 August 2010