Rubiaceae of the New World

By Piero Delprete and Rocio Cortés

MORINDA Linnaeus

Morinda citrifolia "Noni"
Tobago          Photo S. Mori

Morinda citrifolia         Photo S. Mori
St. John, Caribbean area

Morinda citrifolia, fruits and medicinal beverage
Trinidad                            Photo S. Mori

Morinda citrifolia, capitate inflorescence
French Guiana               Photo S. Mori

Synonyms: Appunettia Good; Gutenbergia Walpers (orth. var.), Guttenbergia Zollinger & Moritzi; Imantina J. D. Hooker; Pogonanthus Montrouzier; Rojoc Adanson; Ronabea Aublet; Sphaerophora Blume, non Spherophora Schultz Bipontinus (nom. superfl., Asteraceae); Stigmanthus Loureiro, Stigmatanthus J. J. Roemer & J. A. Schultes (orth. var.)

Woody vines, lianas, shrubs, medium-sized trees or tall canopy trees; raphides present; axillary thorns absent. Stipules interpetiolar, free at base or interpetiolar, connate at base or sheathing (not plitting on one side), oblong or ligulate, spatulate or bifid, sheathing at base, with two small (non-foliose) lobes each side, persistent. Leaves opposite or whorled, 3 per node, long or short-petiolate; blades ovate, broadly elliptic, oblong or oblanceolate, chartaceous or stiffly chartaceous; foliar pellucid glands absent; domatia sparse or dense tufts of hairs or absent. Inflorescence axillary or terminal, not frondose, globose, not subtended by bracts. Flowers bisexual, protandrous. Calyx tube extremely reduced, with small lobes or short tubular, caducous; lobes absent (calyx truncate or undulate) or 4 to 7, broadly triangular, minute. Calycophylls absent. Corolla hypocrateriform or narrowly infundibuliform, actinomorphic, white to cream-white; tube externally glabrous, internally glabrous or puberulent; without a pubescent ring inside; orifice annular thickening absent; lobes 4 to 7, valvate, lanceolate or oblong, margin entire, obtuse or acute at apex. Stamens alternate to the corolla lobes, included, partially exserted (only tips exserted) or exserted just beyond the corolla; anthers narrowly oblong or elongate, round at base, with acuminate extensions at apex, dehiscing by longitudinal slits, dorsifixed near the middle; filaments attached at the middle of the corolla tube, free at base, slender, long, shorter than corolla tube, equal, glabrous. Style exserted just beyond the corolla, terete throughout, not fleshy or terete, not fleshy, capitate, glabrous; lobes absent or 2, ovate, oblong or linear, stigmatic surface located at style apex. Ovary inferior, 2- or 4-locular, narrowly obovoid; placenta reduced, ovules basally inserted, 1 per locule. Fruit a densely clustered globose syncarp, fleshy. Seeds vertical, medium-sized, ovoid to obovoid or reniform; wings absent.

Geographic distribution: Northern Central America (up to southern Mexico), southern Central America, northern Chocó area, southern Chocó area, West Indies, Magdalena-Llanos area, southwestern Amazon Basin, Guayana Shield, central Amazon basin, eastern Amazon basin and extra-tropical North America. A pantropical genus of about 80 species.

Number of species: 26.