Common Name: Rotten Cheesewood 

Botanical Name: Morinda citrifolia

A small evergreen tree growing to 3-10m high. Smooth, leathery leaves are glossy dark green. White tubular flowers with five star-like petals that are sweet-scented. Prolific oblong fruit that are white when ripe and emit an unpleasant “rotten cheese” odour. Despite this, it is a much sought after fruit by Aboriginal people as a food and medicine source. Found in coastal vine thickets and monsoon forest and many gardens in Darwin.  

Aboriginal Uses 

Fleshy fruit is eaten raw to cure colds, congestion, diarrhoea and asthma. May leave a tingling sensation around lips. Juice is used to heal sores, fruit is rubbed on skin to treat fevers and general pain. Leaves used to wrap and cook food and young leaves are edible. Prepared leaves used as a poultice for wounds. Inner root bark is ground and boiled to get yellow dye used in fibrecrafts such as weaving, basket making and string.  


Interesting Facts 

The medicinal qualities of this plant are well known across many tropical islands including Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Pacific. The juice is bottled and sold for its medicinal qualities at a high price in many countries and known by a variety of names including “Noni” juice.