Butter Fruit

Butter Fruit 1

The tall and lush butter fruit tree outside our house is fruiting heavily this year, the heaviest to date as far as I can recall since it was planted ~10 years ago by the property developer as ornamental trees for the neighbourhood. Everyday, for the past few weeks, there will be a number of ripen fruits either resting on the soft grassy patch below the tree or rolled out onto the access road. I will gather them all and place them under the tree. The birds and squirrels will visit and have a field day enjoying them. I think the heavy fruiting could be due to the long hot (and dry) spell we have been experiencing for the past 2-3 months. The ripen fruits colour and texture look so lovely, something which I wanted to photograph for some time now but never quite got to doing it. Today, I did just that :), hope you enjoy.
Butter Fruit 2

The butter fruit (Diospyros blancoi) plant is of the genus Diospyros of ebony trees and persimmons. Its fruit is reddish pink in colour, with a fine velvety brownish hair covering its skin, which reminds me of peaches. The fine velvety hair is nice to the touch and feel but causes itching and irritation, something which I found out to my detriment when handling them for this photo shoot.The ripen fruit can be as big as 4 inches in diameter, is edible but has an aroma (some describe it as rotten cheese or cat faeces) which most people find disagreeable, hence its lack of popularity, I suppose. Its whitish flesh is soft, creamy (like butter), with a tinge of sweetness and packed with vitamins and nutrients good for our health and general well being. Best consumed with the skin pared as the unpleasant aroma of the fruit is from the skin. The butter fruit is called buah mentega or buah sagalat in Malaysia.

Butter Fruit 3
All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 55-200 mm

Update (04/26/16):
At Earl’s request, I am including a couple of additional photos as per his suggestion. Thanks, Earl, and hope you like these too.

Cluster of butter fruit resting on the ground below the tree, note the fruit in the foreground partially consumed by a squirrel before it skittered away at my approach, they are awfully shy, them squirrels, and I am sorry I frightened it away while it was enjoying its fruit…

Cluster Of Butter Fruit On The Ground

And when they are growing on its tree, note the few tiny budding fruits forming left of the frame …

Cluster Of Butter Fruit On The Tree

 

 

 

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22 thoughts on “Butter Fruit

  1. I remembered a majestic tree outside our hall way entrance and the red smelly fruits when I was very young in Butterworth, Penang. It was the only tree of its kind I have ever seen. I moved to Australia and the property was sold by my grandfather for development. It has taken me 40 years to finally find what it is called because I could only remember its hokkien name. Thank you.

    • you are most welcome. thank you for dropping by and reaching out, Someone. i am glad the post brought back sweet recollection of your childhood days in Butterworth and helped you to figure out what its called. another visitor, yoke len from penang, commented that the last time she tasted the fruit was in the 1960s in jb! i had no idea that this post would bring back so much nostalgia for some. the tree has grown a lot taller since i wrote this post and is fruiting a lot more these days. btw, what’s the fruit called in hokkien? regards, ken.

    • Hello Ken,

      How are you? Hope you are well.

      As for me, I am actually on the high seas to Shanghai. Have been cruising for a week now. Shanghai will be last destination before we fly back to Penang.

      Is your tree fruiting again?

      I must try to go back to Subang. I have to squeeze the trip amongst the many upcoming appointments. Hv to see the Penang othopaedic concerning my degenerated hips, the therapist in Singapore to get my motorised scooter, etc. Sigh! Getting old.

      Best regards, Yoke Len

      On Thursday, April 6, 2017, Ken and Agnes Photoworks wrote:

      > commented: “I remembered a majestic tree outside our hall way entrance and > the red smelly fruits when I was very young in Butterworth, Penang. It was > the only tree of its kind I have ever seen. I moved to Australia and the > property was sold by my grandfather for deve” >

      • hello yoke len,
        i am good, thanks. what a coincidence, i am replying to you now from shanghai (rather hazy and been drizzling the past two days in shanghai), been here the past 3 days for work, heading home tomorrow. tree is fruiting but the fruits are not a s large/lovely as before. can courier you some this time round once i spot a good batch. btw, have you thought of/tried qigong for your back/hip problem? regards, ken.

        • What a coincidence! Ship arriving Sunday. Weather report said rain and smog will be welcoming us! Unhealthy level at 159 today.

          Thank you. Just let me know when fruits are ripe, and I shall try to go down to Subang. How about you & Agnes coming up to Penang for durians in June?

          As for my back and hips. It is wear and tear. Only solution is hip replacement.

          Thanks for kind advice.

          On Friday, April 7, 2017, Ken and Agnes Photoworks wrote:

          > ken and agnes photoworks commented: “hello yoke len, i am good, thanks. > what a coincidence, i am replying to you now from shanghai (rather hazy and > been drizzling the past two days in shanghai), been here the past 3 days > for work, heading home tomorrow. tree is fruiting but the fruits are n” >

      • Thank you, Ken. I hope I can really get to taste the fruits again. The last time I had some was in Johor Bahru in 1960. The taste is special. Best regards, Yoke Len

          • Hi Ken. Thank you for offer. Not sure where you are located, but I am retired in Penang. U are welcome to visit. Staying at Tanjung Bunga. I travel quite a bit though: Singapore, Subang and Ipoh. Best, Yoke Len

            • Hi Ken,

              Nice to hear from you.

              Am presently in Singapore, and wont be back in Penang till end August. Hope you wont appear during this time, or I shall miss my butter fruit!

              Give me a buzz on my mobile 0123136153 before you come up.

              Best regards, Yoke Len

              On Thursday, July 14, 2016, Ken and Agnes Photoworks wrote:

              > ken and agnes photoworks commented: “hi yoke len, i am in shah alam, > selangor. i do visit penang quite a bit for short breaks, love the place. > may just buzz you when i am up next, with some butter fruit in hand! :). > ha! regards,ken ” >

  2. I am ashamed to say I’ve never heard of the butter fruit, Ken. I really should know it, lol. Speaking of persimmons, I am not a huge fan if them…so I don’t know if I’ll like this fruit. Well done on the shots as usual 🙂

    • no worries, a lot of people don’t know them either, it is not a common plant/fruit, even in malaysia. i have received a number of enquiries over the years from visitors/passersby asking what are they/if they are peaches and are they edible. it’s creamy in texture, with a tinge of sweetness and slightly fibrous. loads of vitamins and nutrients, and good for health, google velvet apples … thanks, mabel.
      regards, ken

  3. I wish you had taken an “establishing” shot of the tree and the fruit on the ground (or a cropped shot of the blanket of fruit on the ground). This would have usually supported your opening thoughts in the blog, and then guided the reader to the close up shots of the fruit (which, I must say, are very good. The texture and colors are nicely captured!)

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