Economic Botany

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 241–256 | Cite as

The ocean-going noni, or Indian Mulberry (Morinda citrifolia, Rubiaceae) and some of its “colorful” relatives

  • Julia F. Morton


The genus Morinda embraces about 80 species, mostly of Old World origin.M. citrifolia L. (southern Asia Australia), noted as a source of dye and edible leaves, has buoyant seeds that float for many months and commonly appears in the Pacific and also in tropical America where M. royoc L., piña de ratón, is indigenous, inhabits inland hammocks and pinelands as well as seacoasts, and is also one of the floating-seed morindas. There are brief references to its use for dyeing in the Cayman Islands and Yucatan. BothM. citrifolia andM. royoc have sundry folk-remedy uses.M. parvifolia Bartl. has antitumor/antileukemic activity. High intake of selenium byM. reticulata Benth. has poisoned horses in Australia. In the Philippines, there is new interest in the wood ofM. citrifolia. It is hard and of beautiful grain.

Key Word

dye folk remedy food Indian mulberry Morinda spp. noni. 

El marinero, noni, o mora de India (Morinda citrifolia, Rubiaceae) y unos de sus parientes pintorescos


El género Morinda abarca alrededor de 80 especies. La mayoría se origina en el Viejo Mundo.M. citrifolia (sur de Asia hasta Australia) conocida como fuente de tinte y hojas comestibles. Tiene semillas boyantes que flotan por muchos meses y comúnmente aparecen en el Pacífico como también en América tropical dondeM. royoc L., piña de ratón, es indígena; habita en hamacas y bosques de pino poco adentro del país, como también en ciertas costas del mar. Es una de las morindas de semillas-flotantes. Hay notas breves en la literatura sobre su uso en tintorería en las Cayman Islands y Yucatan. LaM. citrifolia y laM. royoc ambos poseen algunos usos en medicina folklórica. LaM. parvifolia posee actividad antitumor/antileukemico. La alla absorción de selenio en laM. reticulata ha causado envenenamiento en caballos en Australia. En las Filipinos hay nuevo interés en modera de laM. citrifolia. Es dura y de fibra bonita.


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© New York Botanical Garden 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia F. Morton
    • 1
  1. 1.Morton CollectaneaUniversity of MiamiCoral Gables

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