Ylang-Ylang (Fijian: Mokosoi)

Ylang-Ylang (Fijian: Mokosoi)Cananga odorata (Annonaceae) Characteristics Fast-growing tree (can grow more than 5 m per year). Evergreen leaves, smooth and glossy. Flower with six narrow, greenish-yellow petals, rather like a sea star in appearance. Flowers with highly fragrant essential oil. Distribution Native from India to Southeast Asia up to Australia. Commonly grown in Madagascar, Polynesia,…

Mahogany

Mahogany Swietenia cf. macrophylla (Meliaceae) Characteristics Tree with strong wood. Leaves large (up to 45 cm) with even numbered leaflets. Fruits are called “sky fruits” because of its upwards growth towards the sky, up to 40 cm long, in a capsule. Each fruit capsule could contain 71 winged seeds (7-12 cm). Distribution Native to South…

Leba (Fijian: Lembalemba, Mamba)

Leba (Fijian: Lembalemba, Mamba)Syzygium cf. neurocalyx (Myrtaceae) Characteristics Small tree, 3-6 m high. Flowers white, in clusters of 2-6, flower tube purplish. Leaves up to 15 cm long. Fruit 6 cm in diameter, green. Distribution Native to southwest Pacific. Natural Medical Properties No known. Did you know? Closely related (same genus) to Malay rose apple…

Chinese lantern tree (Fijian: Evuevu)

Chinese lantern tree (Fijian: Evuevu)Hernandia nymphaeifolia (Hernandiaceae) Characteristics Tree, 5-22 m tall. Leaves ovate with 5-9 palmate veins. Flowers white or greenish with fragrant odour. Fruit fleshy and waxy, red or white. It is believed to be seed dispersed by flying foxes (bats). Distribution It occurs throughout the tropics, exclusively in coastal areas. Natural Medical…

Tiger’s claw (Fijian: Drala, Segai)

Tiger’s claw (Fijian: Drala, Segai)Erythrina variegata (Fabaceae) Characteristics Thorny, deciduous tree, growing up to 25 m tall. Leaves pinnate with three leaflets (each up to 20 cm long and broad). Dense clusters of red flowers and black seeds. It is valued as an ornamental tree. Distribution Native to the tropical and subtropical regions of eastern…

Tamanu (Fijian: Dilo)

Tamanu (Fijian: Dilo)Calophyllum inophyllum (Calophyllaceae) Characteristics Large, low-branching, slow-growing, evergreen tree, containing essential oils (culturally important tamanu oil). Crown broad and irregular. Usually 10-20 m tall. White flowers. Fruit is a round, green drupe (2-4 cm) with one single seed. Because of ist decorative leaves, fragrant flowers and spreading crown, it is a famous ornamental…

Rosemary

RosemarySalvia rosmarinus (Lamiaceae) Characteristics Woody, evergreen, perennial herb. Fragrant, needle-like leaves (essential oils). Flowers white, pink, purple or blue. Rosemary is used as one of the most famous herbs in the culinary arts, but also as an attractive and drought-tolerant ornamental plant in gardens and parks. Distribution Native to the Mediterranean region, today widespread in…

Spider Hibiscus (Fijian: Senitoa)

Spider Hibiscus (Fijian: Senitoa)Hibiscus schizopetalus (Malvaceae) Characteristics Shrub, growing up to 3 m. Flowers red or pink, very distinctive in their frilly, finely divided petals. Leaves resemble those of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (#55 plant tour). Distribution Native to tropical eastern Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Mosambique). Today, widespread as ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical gardens and parks.…

Lemongrass (Fijian: Yagiyagi, Coboi)

Lemongrass (Fijian: Yagiyagi, Coboi)Cymbopogon cf. coloratus (Poaceae) Characteristics Cymbopogon are evergreen, clump-forming, perennial grasses, 60-140 cm tall. Rich in essential oils, used for citronella oil, insect repellent and in the culinary arts (depending on the species). Distribution Genus Cymbopogon native to Asia, Africa and Australia. Natural Medical Properties No known. Did you know? The most…

Polynesian ‘ohe (Fijian: Bitu)

Polynesian ‘ohe (Fijian: Bitu)Schizostachyum glaucifolium (Poaceae) Characteristics Evergreen bamboo species, up to 15 m tall. Culm diameter 8 cm. Clump-forming. Yellow woody culms with green stripes. Used by Polynesians to produce baskets, mats, musical instruments, fishing rods etc. Distribution Native to South-Central Pacific (like Fiji). Today, cultivated in the United States of America. Natural Medical…