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Noni fruit / flowers: Indian mulberry

English name:

Indian mulberry
Family name:
Morinda citrifolia
Scientific name:
Rubiaceae (Coffee family)
Introduced by:
Polynesian introduction
Asia, Australia and Pacific islands
See Also...



In Hawaii, it is often found growing near sites of ancient houses between the shore and lowland woods. It can grow almost anywhere and has exceedingly wide distribution, being found in lowlands throughout warmer regions of the Pacific. Its very versatile when it comes to where it can grow or thrive.


Leaves: Noni is an evergreen shrub or tree with shiny dark green leaves on greenish angular branches. The leaves are opposite (borne in pairs at the nodes of stem), ovate in shape, 8 inches or more in length, deeply veined and short-stemmed.
Flowers: The many flowers are formed in a globose head about 1 inch long. Each flower is white, tubular, about 0.33 inch long that is complete, perfect and regular.
Fruit: The flowers are so close to each other that as the fruit develops, the individual flowers form fruitlets that are separated be hexagonal outlines. The fruit often appear "warty" because of uneven growth of individual fruitlets. Ripe fruit are whitish yellow, insipid or unpleasant tasting and offensive- smelling, especially when it is overripe. The seeds are oblong triangular and reddish brown in color, each with a bladder air sac which make the seeds buoyant/floating. It can be cultivated by seeds or cuttings.


Noni is regarded as a famine food in Hawaii because of its disagreeable taste. It can be eaten raw or cooked. The bark and the roots yield red and yellow dyes respectively. Its active ingredient is an alkaloid xeronine which gives it some insecticidal properties. It was applied to human head to rid it of head lice. Currently its extracted juice is used as a remedy for high blood pressure. The leaves and bark are pounded, cooked and strained and drank as a tonic. Its also used a a cure for tuberculosis, rheumatism, arthritis, diabetes, and skin diseases. The overripe fruit is used as poultice.


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Last Modified: 14-Dec-2010 13:23 HST