Morinda citrifolia: Great morinda

Family: Rubiaceae
Common name: Great morinda, Noni, Indian mulberry, Vomit fruit, Beach mulberry, Cheese fruit

Great morinda trees are widely cultivated in Asian countries, because of the fruit’s nutritional qualities, medicinal properties, and commercial value. These trees can grow to a height of 8-10 meters, yielding abundant fruits year-round. Leaves are simple, large, glossy, dark green, and deeply veined.

The plant produces small, white flowers with 5 petals, prominent stamens, and style. These flowers are formed in small clusters, each cluster producing a fruit. Great morinda green fruits are multiple fruits, each fruit formed from multiple flowers just like pineapples.

Green fruits later turn pale green, white or even yellow when they ripen, reaching a length of 8-12 cm. Ripe fruits smell foul hence giving the plant its name vomit fruit. The taste is also bitter and unpalatable, making it a famine fruit for emergencies.

But the fruits have been used in traditional medicine in the treatment of joint pain, asthma, sprains, headache, cuts, wounds, burns, colds, flu, hypertension, tooth pain, and mouth ulcers. They are said to have antibacterial, antiviral, analgesic, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and immunity enhancement properties.

Great morinda fruits can be eaten raw or cooked and used in salads and stews. Seeds can be roasted and eaten. Several beauty products like lotions, creams, and soaps are made from the fruit of this tree.

Parts of the plant are used to produce dyes, especially the roots and bark. Fruits contain Vitamin C, sodium, potassium, micronutrients, and dietary fibers.

These trees are pretty sturdy and tolerant of drought, salinity, poor soil conditions, and heavy rains. They grow well in warm, tropical climates yielding 8-10 kg of fruits every year.

The fruits contain many seeds, which can fall at the base of the tree and sprout. But normally, the seeds take many months to germinate. So grafting or air layering is a suitable propagation method for the Great morinda tree.

Once the tree takes root, it needs very little maintenance and care. They can be planted as shade trees or ornamental trees for home gardens in addition to providing nutritious fruits.

Propagation is through seeds, stem cuttings, grafting, or air layering.