Online Manual for the Forest Tree Seeds of Kerala

A Kerala Forest Department Funded Project

Dr. K Sudhakara
Professor & Head of the Department
Dept. of Silviculture & Agroforestry
College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur 680 656
Index Page Prior Record Next Record

Scientific Name  Morinda citrifolia L.
Vernacular name  Cherumanjanathi (Malayalam) (Sasidharan, 2004). Nuna (Tamil)
Common name  Noni (Pawlus and Kinghorn, 2007); Indian Mulberry (Scots, 2006)
Family  Rubiaceae
Distribution  This species is native to Southeast Asia (Indonesia) and Australia; and widely distributed in various parts of India; Myanmar; China; Malaya Archipelago and the Pacific Islands (Bose et al., 1998; Scots, 2006)
Description  A small tree or large shrub, reaching 6 m high. The plant sometimes supports itself on other plants as a liana. There is much variation in overall plant form, fruit size, leaf size and morphology, palatability, odour of ripe fruit, and number of seeds per fruit (Bose et al., 1998; Scots, 2006)
Flowering season  Summer and rains (Bose et al., 1998). Continuous throughout the year (Scots, 2006)
Fruiting season  Continuous throughout the year (Scots, 2006)
Flowers  Flowers fragrant, perfect, in dense globose heads; calyx truncate but often with a foliaceous lobe; corolla white, tubular, about 2.5 cm long; lobes acute. Peduncles are 10-30 mm long, five stamens, scarcely exserted, style is about 15 mm long (Bose et al., 1998; Scots, 2006)
Fruits  Fruits green almost spherical fleshy mass, 2.5-3.5 cm in diameter, surface covered with small knobs, each representing a flower and bears a seed (Bose et al., 1998)
Fruit type 
Seeds  Seeds have a distinct air chamber, and can retain viability even after floating in water for months (Scots, 2006)
Seed length 
Seed width 
Seed thickness 
Seed weight  40,000 seeds/kg (Scots, 2006)
Seed dispersal  Birds and rodents (Scots, 2006)
Seed Collection  Fruits are harvested when they start turning white, or even when they have become fully ripe, i.e., turned soft, translucent, and characteristically odorous. For seed production, the riper the fruit, the better. Collect fruit from plants that have desirable characteristics, such as large fruit for fruit production, vigorous leaf growth for hedges, etc. (Scots, 2006)
Transportation of seeds 
Seed processing  After picking, fruit is allowed to ripen fully until it all turns soft (almost mushy) and translucent. This may take 3-5 days if only semi-ripe fruits were collected. Once the fruits have fully softened, press them against a screen or colander with holes slightly smaller than the seeds. The soft, ?brous pulp will slowly be removed from the seeds as they are rubbed. It may take 15 minutes to completely remove the clinging flesh. Rinsing in water periodically helps float off the pulp. The seeds have an air bubble trapped inside, so unlike most other seeds, healthy noni seeds float in water. If the seeds are to be used immediately, soft fruits can be suspended in water and subjected to short pulses in a blender, very sparingly, to remove most of the flesh while slightly scarifying the seed (Scots, 2006)
Seed storage  Flesh should be removed completely, air-dried and stored in a paper bag in a cool room with low humidity (Scots, 2006)
Viability period  Eventhough length of viability of the seeds is unknown, seeds retain viability for 1 year (Scots, 2006)
Seed emptiness 
Seed pre treatment  Scari?cation of the tough seed coat, shorten the time required for seed germination and increase the overall germination percentage. Scari?cation includes any physical method that abrades, damages, penetrates, or cuts open the seed coat. A simple method is to place ripe fruits in a blender and pulse the blending mechanism a few times to cut open the noni seeds before separating them from the pulp. Clipping off the tip of noni seeds near the embryo results in higher germination percentage eventhough it is a more time-consuming method (Scots, 2006)
Germination type 
Germination percentage  Fresh seeds give 90% germination (Scots, 2006)
Germination period  20 - 120 days (Scots, 2006)
Nursery technique 
Method of propagation  Varying sizes of stem cuttings 20-40 cm can be used. Stem cuttings may root in 3 weeks and be ready for outplanting in 6-9 weeks. As with plants derived from seeds, rooted stem cuttings may be grown in pots for up to 26 weeks or more with excellent resu
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Insects, such as aphids (e.g., the melon aphid, Aphis gosypii), scales (e.g., the green scale, Coccus viridis), weevils, leaf miners, whiteflies (e.g., the Kirkaldy whitefly, Dialuerodes kirkaldyi), caterpillars (e.g., Croton caterpillar, Achaea janata), thrips (e.g.,the greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorroidalis), and an unidenti?ed species of eriophyid mite. Over use of fertilizer attract sap-feeding insects (e.g., aphids, whiteflies, scales) causing sooty mold on noni leaves. Stress from lack of nutrients or root problems may also lead to infestations of whiteflies or scales. Whiteflies and scales are perhaps the most destructive. They can be controlled with sprays of insecticidal soaps and oils. In some locations, leaf miners periodically cause severe damage to noni leaves (Scots, 2006)
Diseases  Leaf spots (Colletotrichum sp. and others) and stem, leaf, and fruit blights (Phytophthora sp. and Sclerotium rolfsii) are caused in damp, high-rainfall or flooded areas. The fungal leaf spot diseases are relatively minor but can be a nuisance in some locations. They can be minimized by sanitation (picking up or removing severely diseased leaves) or by periodic application of approved fungicides. Foliar diseases caused by Phytophthora may significantly inhibit leaf growth and fruit development. The most common and severe pest problem is rootknot disease caused by root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne sp.). These soil-dwelling, root-parasitic roundworms are very destructive to noni and must be kept out of the nursery. The disease can cause farm failure. To keep nematodes out of nurseries, use soil-less media or only heat-treated soil for seedlings. Once established in a field, root-knot nematodes are virtually impossible to eradicate and can eventually result in plant death. Therefore infected seedlings should be destroyed. It also displays a wide range of abnormal foliar symptoms due to de?ciencies in fertility elements (e.g., nitrogen, iron, and phosphorous). De?ciencies in iron or other minor elements are expressed as interveinal chlorosis or scorching of leaf margins. De?ciencies in phosphorous are expressed as leaf curling, purpling, and marginal necrosis (Scots, 2006)
Medicinal properties  Used for treatment of malaria, general febrifuge, and analgesic (leaf tea); laxative (all parts of the plant); jaundice (decoctions of stem bark); hypertension (extract of leaves, fruit, or bark); boils and carbuncles (fruit poultice); stomach ulcers (oils from the fruit); scalp insecticide (seed oil); tuberculosis, sprains, deep bruising, rheumatism (leaf or fruit poultices); sore throat (gargling a mash of the ripe fruit); body or intestinal worms (whole fresh fruits); laxative (seeds); fever (leaf poultice); cuts and wounds, abscesses, mouth and gum infections, toothaches (fruit); sties (flowers or vapor from broken leaves); stomach ache, fractures, diabetes, loss of appetite, urinary tract ailments, abdominal swelling, hernias, stings from stone?sh, and human vitamin A de?ciency (leaves). The leaves are also used as a medicinal poultice or body wrap (e.g., Micronesia). The terminal bud has medicinal uses (e.g., Northern Marianas). Purported value of noni, include treatment of ailments including attention de?cit disorder, addictions, allergies, arthritis, asthma, brain problems, burns, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue, diabetes, digestive problems, endometriosis, ?bromyalgia, gout, hypertension, immune de?ciency, infection, inflammation, jet lag, multiple sclerosis, muscle and joint pain, polio, rheumatism, severed ?ngers, sinus, and veterinary medicine have yet to be validated (Scots, 2006). The root is used as cathartic and laxative, febrifuge and as a remedy for the pain or cure of swollen gums (Bose et al., 1998). Ripe fruit has a strong butyric acid smell and flavour. The leaves and especially the fruit are consumed in different forms by various communities (e.g., the Polynesians) throughout the world; the root is used as a dye. fruit has antibiotic and antioxidant properties in vitro (Chan Blanco et al., 2006). The dominant substances in the fruit are fatty acids and polysaccharides, while the roots and bark contain anthraquinone (Seidemann, 2002). Plant possess antibacterial, analgesic, emollient, emmenagogue, anticongestive, hypotensive and sedative activities (Dittmar, 1993; Leach et al., 1988). Seeds contain 16.1% oil. It has 2.3% unsaponifiable matter, 121.3 iodine value and 198.5 saponification value. The main fatty acid components of the oil are linoleic (55.0%), oleic (20.5%), palmitic (12.8%), ricinoleic (6.8%) and stearic (4.9%) (Daulatabad et al., 1989). A crude ethanol extract and hexane fraction from M. citrifolia (collected from Lipata, Quezon, Philippines) show antitubercular (anti-Mycobacterium tuberculosis) activity (Saludes et al., 2002). Noni fruit is a good source of vitamin C, containing 155 mg ascorbic acid/100 g (Shovic and Whistler, 2001)
Uses  Fruits are used in local medicines (juice, poultice) and as a famine food. Unripe fruits are cooked in curries and ripe fruits are consumed raw with salt (e.g., Myanmar). Fruit is cooked and mixed with coconut and eaten as stimulant on long sea voyages. Very young leaves are cooked as vegetables and eaten with rice in Java and Thailand; mature leaves are wrapped around ?sh before cooking and then eaten with the cooked ?sh. The terminal bud is used as food. Dried leaves or fruits are used to make infusions and teas for medicinal use. The root yield a dye, known as Al dye (Bose et al., 1998; Chan Blanco et al., 2006; Scots, 2006)
Wood properties  The wood is fairly hard and can be used in light construction, canoe parts and paddles, axe and adze handles, and digging sticks (Bose et al., 1998; Scots, 2006)
References  Get ...
Designed & Developed: Jyothi