False Kava (Fijian: Yaqoyaqona)

False Kava (Fijian: Yaqoyaqona)Macropiper timothianum (Piperaceae) Characteristics Shrub, 1.5-3 m tall. White flowers and red fruits. Distribution Grows in Pacific islands like Fiji and Samoa Natural Medical Properties No known. Did you know? Close related (same subfamily) to Kava (Piper methysticum) and Black Pepper (Piper nigrum). Further reading: Here Literature World Flora Online WorldChecklist of…

Screw pines (Fijian: Vadra, Voivoi)

Screw pines (Fijian: Vadra, Voivoi)Pandanus sp. (Pandanaceae) Characteristics Tropical shrubs (1 m) or trees (up to 20 m) with candelabra-like branching and spiny adventitious roots. Leaves and fruit resemble those of the pineapple plant, although they are not closely related. Pandanus are dioecious (male and female flowers produced on different plants). Distribution Native to Old…

Island Musk (Fijian: Uci)

Island Musk (Fijian: Uci)Euodia hortensis (Rutaceae) Characteristics Shrub or small tree, up to 4 m. Leaves aromatic (essential oils). It flowers and produces fruits all year round. Distribution Native to Australasia and Southwest Pacific Islands. Natural Medical Properties The leaves are anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue, febrifuge and laxative. They are chewed as a remedy for toothache or…

Red Bean (Fijian: Tarawau)

Red Bean (Fijian: Tarawau)Dysoxylum cf. mollissimum (Meliaceae) Characteristics Large tree, up to 35 m. Usually buttressed. White flowers. Fruit is a brown capsule, bird attracting. The tree produces a well-regarded mahogany timber, suited to cabinet work, carving and boat building. Distribution It occurs in tropical, sub-tropical and littoral rainforests in Eastern Australia as well as…

Red Ginger

Red Ginger Alpinia purpurata (Zingiberaceae) Characteristics Pseudostems, usually about 3 m tall, composed of overlapping leaf-sheaths. Thick rhizoms. Alpinia is the largest genus in the ginger family (Zingiberaceae) with about 230 species. Red Ginger can be grown in regions like South Florida since, in general, those regions do not fall below freezing temperatures. Distribution Native…

Coconut palm (Fijian: Niadamu)

Coconut palm (Fijian: Niadamu)Cocos nucifera (Arecaceae) Characteristics Stems up to 20 m tall, erected or leaning, smooth. Trunk usually somewhat swollen at the base (80 cm), upper diameter about 40 cm. Leaves up to 5 m long. Immature fruits green, yellow or bronzy red. Mature fruits brown. Distribution Attributed to Asiatic tropics but now spontaneous…

Beach Cordia (Fijian: Nawanawa)

Beach Cordia (Fijian: Nawanawa)Cordia subcordata (Boraginaceae) Characteristics Small tree, up to 10 m. Leaves ovate, 8-20 cm long. Flowers orange, form tubes. Blooming occurs throughout the year, but most flowers are produced in the spring. Fruits buoyant for long distance transport by ocean currents. Distribution Beach Cordia occurs in Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, Northern Australia…

Musk fern

Musk fernMicrosorum scolopendria (Polypodiaceae) Characteristics Like most ferns, they grow from rhizomes, rather than roots. It forms so called “sori” on the underside of the leaf (brown spots). There, it produces the spores, important for propagation. Distribution Native to the Western Pacific rim from Australia to New Caledonia to Fiji and throughout the South Pacific…

Pacific Rosewood / Portia Tree

Pacific Rosewood / Portia TreeThespesia populnea (Malvaceae) Characteristics Small tree or shrub, up to 10 m tall. Able to grow in various soil types of coastal environments, including soils derived from sand, limestone and basalt. Heartwood dark reddish brown. Distribution Native to the “Old World” tropics. Today pantropical, found on coasts around the world. Introduced…