Morinda citrifolia
Common Name: Indian mulberry 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Rubiaceae
Native Range: India
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 10.00 to 18.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 11-12 where it is best grown in rich, moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates full shade but with decreased flowering and fruiting. Tolerates a variety of soils including sandy and rocky ones. Established plants tolerate some drought. This tropical plant requires warm temperatures. Foliage begins to suffer when temperatures dip below 55-60 degrees F. Plants will not survive temperatures below 35-40 degrees F. Where not winter hardy, plants may be grown indoors in large containers in bright light with consistently moist soils (less drought tolerant indoors).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Morinda citrifolia, commonly called Indian mulberry, is a tropical evergreen shrub or small tree that typically grows to 10-18' tall. In Hawaii it is commonly called noni. It is native from southeastern Asia and Polynesia to northern Australia. Lumpy, potato shaped fruits from this small tree are now being commercially processed into a juice called noni which is being sold worldwide for its touted health benefits. Although these fruits are considered by some to be cure-alls for a huge number of medical problems, many of the current claims made by health enthusiasts have not so far been medically confirmed by objective testing. This small evergreen tree features (a) straight trunk, (b) large, simple, deeply-veined, waxy, dark green leaves (6-20" long), (c) small white flowers in clusters from the leaf axils, (d) many-seeded oval fruits (mature from green to yellow to off-white) which fuse into a fruiting structure resembling a small potato or breadfruit. Flowers and fruits appear year round. Fruits are edible, but have a strong flavor and very unpleasant smell when ripe (aroma reportedly attracts bats which help distribute the seeds). For well over 2000 years, South Pacific islanders have consumed noni fruits. Polynesian explorers considered noni to be a "canoe plant" that was taken on all voyages because it was considered essential to their lives. It was not until the 1990s that commercial production of bottled noni juice took off. Most commercial noni fruits now come from Tahiti or Hawaii. Tree bark contains red pigment and tree roots contain yellow pigment used as dyes.

Genus name comes from the Latin words morus meaning a mulberry and indicus meaning from India.

Specific epithet means with leaves that look like the genus Citrus.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Potential insect problems include aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and aphids. Root-knot nematodes. Roundworms. Potential disease problems include leaf spots and blights.

Garden Uses

Where winter hardy, it is grown as a specimen/accent (huge leaves plus misshapen fruits), hedge, or living fence. Good selection for difficult areas with poor soils. Fruit production.