Morinda latibractea, Kesengelengel

Morinda latibractea

Family: Rubiaceae
Origin: Micronesia
Large shrub 5-10 ft tallSmall tree 10-20 ftSemi-shadeModerate waterWhite, off-white flowersEthnomedical plant.
Plants marked as ethnomedical and/or described as medicinal, are not offered as medicine but rather as ornamentals or plant collectibles.
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Morinda latibractea is an evergreen shrub or small tree, originating from the Micronesia region. It is a large shrub 5-10 feet tall when mature, and can reach up to 10-20 feet when taking growth as a small tree. The thick and leathery leaves are oval-shaped, and come in a variety of sizes, generally measuring 8-15 inches long and 3-5 inches wide. The top of the leaves are often pointed, and the underside is a lighter gray in color.

The flowers of the Morinda latibractea are small and fragrant, producing in clusters of white to off-white blooms. The blooms often times smell pleasant and sweet, and attract pollinators such as birds and bees. The flowers are self-fertile, so they will still produce fruit even when planted stand-alone.

Morinda latibractea is a great choice for gardening in warmer and cooler climates, as it thrives in USDA Zone 9-11. It prefers semi-shaded areas, and moderate amounts of water. It does not require a lot of care and maintenance, making it an ideal plant for gardeners looking for low maintenance plants.

When growing Morinda latibractea in colder climates, there are a few tips for keeping it healthy and strong. If planted in a pot, make sure the pot has good drainage, as standing water can cause the roots to rot. Also, make sure the soil remains moist, but not overly wet, as damp conditions are optimal for strong and healthy growth. During the winter, make sure to cover the plant or pot with a tarp to protect it from frost, as well as to provide extra insulation. With proper care, Morinda latibractea can thrive in almost any environment.

Morinda latibractea has many ethnomedicinal uses, and has been used in traditional medicines throughout Palau and the surrounding regions for centuries. It is believed to have many healing and protective properties, and is sometimes referred to as the healing tree for these reasons. It is also sometimes used for decoration purposes, as it is a beautiful addition to any garden.

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