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Morinda citrifolia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Morinda citrifolia
Leaves and fruit
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Morinda
M. citrifolia
Binomial name
Morinda citrifolia
16 synonyms
  • Samama citrifolia (L.) Kuntze
  • Morinda citrifolia f. potteri (O.Deg.) H.St.John
  • Morinda citrifolia var. potteri O.Deg.
  • Morinda ligulata Blanco
  • Morinda litoralis Blanco
  • Morinda macrophylla Desf.
  • Morinda mudia Buch.-Ham.
  • Morinda multiflora Roxb.
  • Morinda nodosa Buch.-Ham.
  • Morinda quadrangularis G.Don
  • Morinda teysmanniana Miq.
  • Morinda tinctoria Noronha
  • Morinda tinctoria var. multiflora (Roxb.) Hook.f.
  • Morinda zollingeriana Miq.
  • Platanocephalus orientalis Crantz
  • Sarcocephalus leichhardtii F.Muell.

Morinda citrifolia is a fruit-bearing tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, native to Southeast Asia and Australasia, which was spread across the Pacific by Polynesian sailors.[2] The species is now cultivated throughout the tropics and widely naturalised.[3] There are over 100 names for this fruit across different regions, including great morinda, Indian mulberry, noni, beach mulberry, vomit fruit, awl tree, and rotten cheese fruit.[4]

The pungent odour of the fresh fruit has made it a famine food in most regions, but it remains a staple food among some cultures and is used in traditional medicine. In the consumer market, dietary supplements are sold in various formats, such as capsules and juices.

Fruit in cross-section

Common names[edit]

Mengkudu besar, inda, menkudu, Indian mulberry, awl tree, brimstone tree, great morinda, cheese fruit, noni, mengkudu,[5] keloré (in Lamalera, Flores island).[6]


Morinda citrifolia is a shrub or small tree up to 6 m tall, with grey-brown bark. The twigs are more or less square in cross-section and often fleshy. Stipules are present, very broad and obtuse at the apex, measuring up to 2 cm wide and long. The large glabrous leaves are arranged in opposite pairs on the twigs, reaching up to 25 cm long by 13 cm wide. They are elliptic to ovate in shape and have 6–9 pairs of lateral veins. Domatia are usually present as dense tufts of hairs in the junctions of the lateral veins with the midrib.[7][8][9][10]: 182 

The inflorescences are dense heads of flowers produced at the apex of the branch. They are leaf-opposed, replacing one leaf in the pair. There may be up to 90–100 flowers in the head, but only a few open at a time. The flowers are white and tubular with five lobes, measuring about 15 cm long and across.[7][8][9][10]: 182 

The fruit is a multiple fruit consisting of fused drupes, each containing four seeds. They are initially green, transitioning through pale yellow to white or grey, and when ripe they emit a pungent odour similar to blue cheese. They are irregularly ellipsoid or ovoid, and may reach up to 9x6 cm.[7][8][9][10]: 182 


The plants flower and fruit throughout the year. It is common to see flowers and fruit in varying stages of development on a plant at any given time.[8][10]: 182 [11]

Growing habitats[edit]

Morinda citrifolia grows in shady forests and on open rocky or sandy shores.[12] It takes 18 months for the plant to mature, and yields 4 and 8 kg (8.8 and 17.6 lb) of fruit per month throughout the year. It is tolerant of saline soils, drought conditions, and secondary soils. It can be found in various environments including volcanic terrains and clearings or limestone outcrops, as well as in coral atolls.[12] It can grow up to 9 m (30 ft) tall and has large, simple, dark green, shiny, and deeply veined leaves.


Morinda citrifolia is attractive to weaver ants, which make their nests by using the leaves of this tree.[12] These ants protect the plant from some plant-parasitic insects. The smell of the fruit also attracts fruit bats, which aid in dispersing the seeds. Drosophila sechellia, a type of fruit fly endemic to the Seychelles, feeds exclusively on these fruits.[13]


A variety of beverages (juice drinks), powders (from dried ripe or unripe fruits), cosmetic products (lotions, soaps), oil (from seeds), and leaf powders (for encapsulation or pills) have been introduced into the consumer market.[11]


Indigenous peoples used the fruit as emergency food during famines.[11] Therefore, it is also called "starvation fruit". Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit was nevertheless eaten as a famine food,[14] and, in some Pacific Islands, even as a staple food, either raw or cooked.[15] Southeast Asians and Aboriginal Australians consume fresh fruit with salt or cook it with curry.[16] The seeds are edible when roasted. In Thai cuisine, the leaves known as bai-yo are used as a leaf vegetable and are the main ingredient of Kaeng bai-yo, cooked with coconut milk. The fruit luk-yo is added as a salad ingredient to some versions of green papaya salad.

In Cambodia, the leaves are an essential part of the national dish fish amok.[17]

Traditional medicine[edit]

Green fruit, leaves, and root or rhizomes might have been used in Polynesian cultures as a general tonic, in addition to its traditional place in Polynesian culture as a famine food.[11] Although Morinda is considered to have biological properties in traditional medicine, there is no confirmed evidence of clinical efficacy for any intended use.[18] In 2018, a Hawaiian manufacturer of food and skincare products based on this fruit was issued an FDA warning letter for marketing unapproved drugs and making false health claims in violation of the US Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.[19]


The fruit has traditionally been used by Austronesian peoples mainly for producing dyes. It was carried into the Pacific Islands as canoe plants by Austronesian voyagers. Morinda bark produces a brownish-purplish dye that may be used for making batik. In Hawaii, yellowish dye is extracted from its roots to dye cloth.[9][11] Yolngu artists at Bula'Bula Arts in Ramingining, in central Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, Australia, use the roots and bark of djundom, as it is known to them, to dye the fibres of pandanus to create a wide variety of artifacts.[20]

Applying a mordant to the fabric before dyeing is necessary when using extracts of this plant as a dye. This process can be labor-intensive if the goal is to achieve shades and hues with the morinda dye.[21]

Popular culture[edit]

The fruit is widely used in eating challenges in the British reality television program I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! where it is referred to as "vomit fruit."[22]

Nutrients and phytochemicals[edit]

Morinda citrifolia fruit powder contains carbohydrates and dietary fibre in moderate amounts.[23] These macronutrients reside in the fruit pulp, as M. citrifolia juice has sparse nutrient content.[24] The main micronutrients of M. citrifolia pulp powder include vitamin C, vitamin B3), iron, and potassium.[23] Vitamin A, calcium, and sodium are present in moderate amounts. Compared to powdered pulp, only vitamin C is retained in the analysis of M. citrifolia juice.[24] The juice contains 34 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, which is 64% of the amount found in a raw navel orange (53 mg per 100 g of orange, or 89% of the Daily Value).[25] Sodium levels in M. citrifolia juice (about 3% of Dietary Reference Intake, DRI)[23] are high compared to an orange, while potassium content is moderate.[25]

Morinda citrifolia fruit contains several phytochemicals, including lignans, oligo- and polysaccharides, flavonoids, iridoids such as deacetylasperulosidic acid,[26] fatty acids, scopoletin, catechin, beta-sitosterol, damnacanthal, and alkaloids.[27]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Morinda citrifolia L." Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2024. Retrieved 12 May 2024.
  2. ^ Pieroni, Andrea (2005). Prance, Ghillean; Nesbitt, Mark (eds.). The Cultural History of Plants. Routledge. p. 36. ISBN 0415927463.
  3. ^ Nelson, SC (2006-04-01). "Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry: Morinda citrifolia (noni)". Traditional Tree Initiative.
  4. ^ "Some worldwide names for Morinda citrifolia L." The Noni Website. University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2023.
  5. ^ "Morinda citrifolia L." nparks.gov.sg. National Parks, Singapore government agency. Retrieved 2024-06-09.
  6. ^ Barnes, Ruth (1989). Ikat Textiles of Lamalera: A Study of an Eastern Indonesian Weaving Tradition (Studies in South Asian culture, vol. XIV). E.J. Brill. p. 15. ISBN 90 04 08753 2. ISSN 0169-9865.
  7. ^ a b c F.A.Zich; B.P.M.Hyland; T.Whiffen; R.A.Kerrigan (2020). "Morinda citrifolia". Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants Edition 8 (RFK8). Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research (CANBR), Australian Government. Retrieved 12 May 2024.
  8. ^ a b c d "Morinda citrifolia L." Flora of China (eFloras). Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 12 May 2024.
  9. ^ a b c d "Morinda citrifolia - Indian Mulberry". Cook Islands Biodiversity. The Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust. Retrieved 12 May 2024.
  10. ^ a b c d "RUBIACEAE (Wong et al.)". Flora of Singapore. Singapore Botanic Gardens. Retrieved 12 May 2024.
  11. ^ a b c d e Scot C. Nelson. "Morinda citrifolia L." (PDF). Agroforestry. Permanent Agriculture Resources. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 November 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2024.
  12. ^ a b c Nelson, Scot C (March 2001). "Noni cultivation in Hawaii" (PDF). The noni website, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  13. ^ Jones, C.D. (1998). "The Genetic Basis of Drosophila sechellia's Resistance to a Host Plant Toxin". Genetics. 149 (4): 1899–1908. doi:10.1093/genetics/149.4.1899. PMC 1460277. PMID 9691045.
  14. ^ Krauss, BH (December 1993). Plants in Hawaiian Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0-8248-1225-6.
  15. ^ Morton, Julia F. (1992). "The ocean-going noni, or Indian Mulberry (Morinda citrifolia, Rubiaceae) and some of its "colorful" relatives". Economic Botany. 46 (3): 241–56. doi:10.1007/BF02866623. S2CID 41054660.
  16. ^ Cribb, A.B. & Cribb, J.W. (1975) Wild Food in Australia. Sydney: Collins.[page needed]
  17. ^ Veasna. "Cambodian Fish Amok". Food.com. Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc.
  18. ^ Potterat O, Hamburger M (2007). "Morinda citrifolia (Noni) fruit--phytochemistry, pharmacology, safety". Planta Medica. 73 (3): 191–9. doi:10.1055/s-2007-967115. PMID 17286240.
  19. ^ Darla Bracy, Division Director (18 July 2018). "Warning letter: Hawaiian Organic Noni, LLC". Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations, US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  20. ^ Allam, Lorena; Moore, Isabella. "'Bringing the sun in': the hardworking weavers of Bula'Bula dig colour from the red earth". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2023.
  21. ^ Khan Majlis, Brigitte (2007). "Deft Hands and Divine Patterns: An Introduction to Indonesian Textile Techniques". Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies. 33 (2). The Art of Indonesian Textiles: The E. M. Bakwin Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago: 25. JSTOR 20205554.
  22. ^ "What is vomit fruit, as seen on I'm A Celebrity?". Metro. 23 November 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2022.
  23. ^ a b c Nelson, Scot C. (2006) "Nutritional Analysis of Hawaiian Noni (Noni Fruit Powder)" The Noni Website. Retrieved 15-06-2009.
  24. ^ a b Nelson, Scot C. (2006) "Nutritional Analysis of Hawaiian Noni (Pure Noni Fruit Juice)" The Noni Website. Retrieved 15-06-2009.
  25. ^ a b "Nutrition data for raw oranges, all commercial varieties, per 100 gram amount". Nutritiondata.com. Conde Nast for the USDA National Nutrient Database, Release SR-21. 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  26. ^ Potterat, Olivier; Von Felten, Roger; Dalsgaard, Petur W.; Hamburger, Matthias (2007-09-01). "Identification of TLC Markers and Quantification by HPLC-MS of Various Constituents in Noni Fruit Powder and Commercial Noni-Derived Products". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 55 (18): 7489–7494. doi:10.1021/jf071359a. ISSN 0021-8561.
  27. ^ Levand, Oscar; Larson, Harold (2009). "Some Chemical Constituents of Morinda citrifolia". Planta Medica. 36 (6): 186–7. doi:10.1055/s-0028-1097264. PMID 461575.

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