By S. Kramer
The geographical position of Indonesia on the equator gives the country a favorable climate for many varieties of plants to grow including flowers and fruits. The rainy season that starts around October and lasts till April are the harvest seasons for fruits. Some exotic fruits known to be native of Indonesia among others are:
Durian (genus Durio) comprises of about 30 species including the cultivated ones. Known for century, durian was introduced the western world only about 600 years ago. Also known as the King of Fruit, durian is really controversial because of its distinct strong smell coming from the sulfur content. Some people describe the distinctive odor as sewage smells, rotten onion and turpentine. It grows all over Indonesia including Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, and Maluku islands. Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who did extensive research on Indonesian flora and fauna during the 19th century, described the fruit as having a rich almond like custards.
- Manggis or purple Mangosteen (Garcinia Mangostana) originated from west Java and Maluku. It is known also the queen of fruits. It was introduced to England in 1855 and spread further to western hemisphere. It has a purple skin and white flesh with sweet and sour tastes.
C. Salak (Salacca Zalacca) is also known as snake fruit due to the scaly brown outer skin. It was native to Sumatra and Java before it was brought further to other islands including Bali, Lombok, and Maluku. Salak has yellowish crunchy crumbly moist flesh like apple with sweet and sour taste with the hard seed inside.
D. Jambu air (Syzyggium samarangense) is also known as the Java apple. The varieties come in different colors from crimson red and deep purple to black and green. It has a high water content, almost like watermelon, and a refreshing taste like pear.
E. Kepel (Stelechocarpus burahol) is from central Java. The fruit is a symbol of Jogyakarta. Kepel also symbolizes unity as well as mental and spiritual integrity. It is highly valued by the Javanese Sultanate due to its health benefits as anti-contraceptive, oral deodorant, prevention of kidney inflammation and its ability to activate helpful bacterium in the digestion.