You are here:

Identifying Unknown Plants/tropical seed pod identification


odd seed pod
odd seed pod  
QUESTION: My husband brought this home (was just lying next to a road)and we are intrigued as to what it is.  We live in Sarasota Florida (50 miles south of Tampa) and it is pretty heavy for it's size.  Could you please tell us what it is as if it is a seed pod we may want to plant it.  Thank you, Courntey

ANSWER: Hi Courtney,

It looks like you've found a Durian fruit.  I'm a little unsure, because it should have sharper spines, but sometimes the spines are sanded off for greater ease in shipping, and there are a couple of spineless varieties.  There is a fool-proof way to tell - by the smell.  Leave it at room temperature for a few days or a week to ripen. It should begin to turn a golden brown.  The riper the fruit, the better the chance of the seed being viable. Then cut it lengthwise from the stem - not the circumference.  Most people liken the smell to rotten onions.  Others to almonds, sewage, even perfume.  It is reputed to be sweet-tasting if you can get past the smell.  These do grow in South Florida - almost everything does.  Below are a couple of links, but if you google "durian" - you can find a wealth of info on growing it, pictures, recipes, etc.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you, I see what you mean that it looks like a Durian with the spikes cut off but I had a friend suggest that it may be a screw palm.  After looking at both pictures I think it is indeed a screw palm seed.  Thank you for looking into this for us.

Hi Courtney,

Your friend is right.  Thanks for letting me know.  After 35 years, I realize I've just barely scratched the surface of all there is to know about plants.  I don't mind being corrected - it means I learned a new thing today.  

Identifying Unknown Plants

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Susan Tabor


I can identify most weeds, ornamentals,and wild plants by description or photo. If it is completely unknown to me, I can usually type info into a botanical search engine and find it. I am familiar with unusual plants from all over the world.


Thirty-five years of research and experience in horticulture.

You already have that information. I'm just listing myself in a new catagory.

©2016 All rights reserved.