Not a fan of vegetables? Have a bit of a sweet tooth? Fruits are a great way to indulge in the body’s natural inclination to seek sugary foods without adding unnecessary calories.
Unlike your typical dessert, fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants that rival those of the healthiest vegetables. They also have tons of fiber and are low in fat. Some of the most nutritious fruits out there are ones you aren’t likely to find in the bins at your local chain grocery store.
For many of these less popular fruits, you’ll have to scour farmers’ markets and fruit stands, often in exotic locations. To help you build your list of rare fruits to try, we’ve created this in-depth list of fruits that start with D. Some of these fruits you’ve tried, but most are waiting for you somewhere far from home.
Fruits that Start with the Letter D
1. Dabai Fruit
The strange dabai fruit looks like a cross between a black olive and a grape. It has dusty black skin and a distinct yellow circle on one end from where the stem was attached.
Eaten raw, they are rock hard and taste faintly of olives. But after peeling and soaking in hot water, they soften up and take on the unique flavor of steamed carrots with butter.
Dabai fruit grows naturally in Borneo and is sold at a premium in local markets. Those in the know enjoy dabai plain or with a dab of salt or soy sauce.
2. Damson Plum
The true damson plum is native to Great Britain and is technically a subspecies of the common plum. This ovoid fruit is bright blue and is most often used to make jams and preserves.
When eaten raw, the damson has a very tart and astringent flavor. In fact, the word damson is often used to describe acidic, plum-flavored wines.
While the true damson plum is found only in Europe, in Southeast Asia, the jamblang fruit, which has a similar tart flavor, is often referred to as damson fruit.
The dangleberry, also called a blue huckleberry, is a small blueberry-shaped fruit that grows from the Gaylussacia frondosa shrub. These are native to the Eastern United States and are often wild foraged, though you might be able to find some at roadside fruit stands at the right time of year.
Dangleberries have a sweet flavor and can be used like blueberries in jams, baked goods, pancakes, or eaten raw.
The most well-known of the D fruits is the date. This uber-sweet shriveled fruit, which resembles a giant raisin, has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years. While the origin of the date palm has been lost with time, it most likely came from somewhere in the Middle East, North Africa, or India.
Dates can be eaten raw, stuffed with savory fillings like soft cheese, or cooked with traditional Indian, Middle Eastern, and African cuisine.
Fun fact: Date seeds remain viable for over 2,000 years.
A date-plum is neither a date nor a plum, but a fruit in the persimmon family. This pin-pong-ball-sized yellow fruit looks like other persimmons but has a flavor somewhere between its two namesakes.
While they can be eaten raw, date-plums are most often dried to reduce their tartness and increase their date-like sweetness.
Date-plums are widely cultivated in Southwest Asia and Southeast Europe.
6. Darwin’s Barberry
Darwin’s barberries grow in clusters of bluish-purple fruits similar in size to blueberries. They have an acidic and tart flavor and are most often used to make syrup, jams, or used in pies.
These shrubs are native to Chile and Argentina, but have become naturalized in the US, Europe, and are considered an invasive species in New Zealand. Despite being widely used as a decorative plant around shopping malls in temperate states, these berries are often overlooked by foragers due to the spiky leaves and stems that surround them.
7. Davidson’s Plum
Davidson’s plum, which is native to Australia, is not closely related to the true plum that grows in Europe. But the flavor of the fruits is similar. They also share deep reddish-purple flesh, but the Davidon’s plum lacks the central pit found in a true plum.
These mildly tart fruits are most often used in cakes, jams, and sauces or added to yogurt and ice cream.
8. Dead Man’s Fingers
While it doesn’t have the most appetizing name, dead man’s fingers fruit is actually quite tasty. These deep blue, elongated fruits grow in clusters of three and have a soft peel that feels creepily skin-like—hence the name.
Inside, you’ll find a translucent gelatinous pulp embedded with multiple black seeds. The pulp has a mild sweetness reminiscent of cucumber or melon. While not well known outside of their native Asia, these frost-tolerant trees are sometimes grown in Europe and the US as ornamental plants.
The dekopon is a seedless variety of the satsuma orange, which includes popular varieties like the mandarin and tangerine. This small citrus looks very similar to a tangelo with a rounded body and elongated button top.
The dekopon is sweeter than other satsuma varieties, which may be why it has become so popular across the world. Originally hybridized in Japan, these tasty fruits can now be found in supermarkets across the US.
10. Desert Banana
Desert bananas, more commonly known as bush bananas, are a fruit native to Australia. Despite the name, they don’t really resemble a banana and certainly do not taste like one. These pendulum-shaped fruits have light green skin and scale-like seed clusters inside.
Indigenous people have long used the desert banana plant, consuming all parts of the tree from the roots to the flowers and leaves. The fruits are eaten raw when young or cooked in the hot earth next to the fire when mature. In either case, they have a mild flavor similar to zucchini.
11. Desert King Fig
The desert king is a true fig tree that produces some of the largest, and tastiest fig fruits out there. The origin of this variety has been traced back to Maderna, California sometime in the 1930s.
Like most figs, these large fruits are pear-shaped with deep pink-red flesh. They have a flavor reminiscent of strawberry and mulberry and a soft texture that melts in the mouth.
12. Desert Lime
The desert lime is a unique citrus tree native to Australia. It has developed many adaptations to the harsh environment of the Outback, including the ability to drop its leaves and live off its green bark during times of drought.
These trees produce small, light green fruits that resemble freckled limes. They are juicy and pleasantly acidic and used in much the same way as true limes.
13. Desert Quandong
Another Australian native D fruit is the desert quandong. This round, bright red fruit is about the size of a ping-pong ball and contains a nut that resembles something between a walnut and a brain.
While not commonly propagated outside of Australia, this exotic fruit is quite popular in exotic fruit markets around the world. The quandong is high in vitamin C and has a flavor somewhere between peach and rhubarb. It is often eaten raw or used as a flavor additive in many Australian dishes.
Dewberries, also known as wild blackberries, are closely related to the commercial blackberries sold in stores. The berry itself is smaller and not as sweet and the shrubs themselves grow horizontally rather than upright.
These wild blackberries grow throughout the northern hemisphere and produce plentiful berries throughout the spring. They are gathered and made into jams, added to baked goods, or eaten raw.
15. Dinosaur Eggs
Dinosaur egg fruits, more commonly known as pluots, are a hybrid between an apricot and plum. First-generation hybrids are called plumcots or apriplums, with subsequent generations referred to as pluots.
These fruits have slick skin like a plum with mottled red-yellow coloration, hence the name “dinosaur egg.” The flavor lacks the bitterness associated with plums and has a brighter sweetness than an apricot. They are most commonly eaten raw but can also be made into jam.
16. Discovery Apple
The discovery apple may not be as popular as the red delicious or granny smith, but it is worth searching out if you like crisp, sweet apple varieties. This apple is on the smaller side and more flattened than round in appearance.
But what really makes the discovery apple unique is its rouged inner flesh. Areas of bright red typically appear under the skin and around the seeds with white flesh in between. When eaten quickly after harvest, they have a crisp, tart, slightly strawberry-like flavor.
17. Dodder Laurel
Dodder laurels are parasitic vines that grow in many regions throughout the world. Many varieties produce edible fruits that resemble small grapes or colorless blueberries.
These fruits are not commercially harvested but are wild foraged by a number of native populations. In Australia, the fruit is often eaten raw by Aboriginals and in the Caribbean, the fruit is used as an aphrodisiac.
18. Double Coconut
The double coconut has the distinction of being the world’s largest seed. While the outer fruit looks similar to a traditional coconut, the inner seed is bi-lobed, flattened, and somewhat resembles a pair of human lungs.
Double coconut trees are native to only a few islands in the Somali Sea. Because these coconuts don’t float, they have not been able to spread with the same ferocity as most palm species.
Dracontomelon is a small round fruit with thick skin and a star-shaped pattern to the inner flesh. They range in color from green to pink to yellow and have a very sour flavor.
These rare fruits grow wild and as decorative trees in Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. The fruits are most often used as a souring agent or candied and eaten as a treat.
20. Dragon Fruit
Potentially the coolest looking fruit in the world, dragon fruit is easily recognizable despite being less commonly sold in commercial grocers. The fruit has a bulbous fuschia body covered in flame green flame-like scales. The inner, spongy flesh is white with hundreds of tiny black seeds.
The flavor of dragon fruit is somewhere between a kiwi and pear. It is often used to flavor drinks and juices.
The cactuses that bear this fruit are native to the Americas but widely propagated throughout the world.
21. Duku Fruit
Duku fruits grow in large clusters of small to medium rounded fruits with tough, leathery skin. They are pale yellowish-tan in color and turn slightly brown as they age. Inside, this odd fruit resembles a pulpless, colorless citrus, with distinct sections of translucent flesh.
Despite the odd look of duku fruit, its taste is something familiar. Sweetly-tart when mature, the flavor has been compared to grapefruit or pomelo. They are native to Asia where they are most often consumed raw.
Durians are large, spiky fruits native to Southeast Asia. Their hard, pointy rind is light brown and hides pockets of yellow or red flesh inside. The fruits have a famously strong odor that has been described by some as pleasant to oniony, and others as reminiscent of raw sewage and stale vomit.
Despite the wide-ranging opinions on the smell of the fruit, most agree that its taste is worth even the greatest odorous torture. It has a custardy texture with a sweet, almondy flavor and hints of vanilla and caramel. Most often durian is used to make desserts or eaten raw.
About the Author
Sara Seitz is a freelance writer living with type 1 diabetes. Her search for better health and better control of her blood sugars led her to a plant-based diet. When she isn’t experimenting with new vegan recipes, she’s helping spread the word about how plant-based is better for people and the planet. More articles by Sara.