Characteristics of Cheese Fruit Tree (Morinda citrifolia) in the Wild

Morinda citrifolia
Cheese fruit or Noni is a fruiting tree species originating from the Southeast Asian region and belongs to the family Rubiaceae.

The origin of the cheese fruit tree is inseparable from the presence of Polynesians who settled in the Pacific Ocean Islands. The Polynesians are believed to have come from Southeast Asia.

In 100 BC, the famous nation dared to wander. For no apparent reason, they crossed the ocean leaving their place. There is the impression that the wanderers were disappointed by something and the intention to distance themselves from their previous lives. After long wandering, they arrived around Polynesia, which is the islands around the South Pacific. The adventurers immediately fell in love when they saw the beautiful scenery, the condition of the beach, and the island.

Uniquely, they seemed to have prepared themselves to move to another island. This can be proven by the presence of several plants and animals that are brought along because they are considered important for survival. Some native plants, such as bananas, taro, sweet potatoes, breadfruit, sugar cane, and noni, are also brought along. Among those brought, there were still cuttings and shoots. One of the plants, namely cheese fruit.

Since 1500 years ago the inhabitants of the archipelago, now called Hawaii, have known cheese fruit as noni. They suspect that the Latin plant Morinda citrifolia has many benefits. They see it as a Hawaii magic plant because this fruit is believed to be able to treat various diseases.

Cheese fruit is proven to contain substances that can be used by humans, including:

  • Nutrition
    Overall cheese fruit is a nutritious fruit that is complete. Nutrients needed by the body, such as protein, viamin, and important minerals, are available in sufficient quantities in fruit and cheese fruit leaves. Selenium, a mineral found in cheese fruit is a great antioxidant. Various types of compounds contained in noni are xeronine, plant steroids, alizarin, lycine, socium, caprylic acid, arginine, proxeronine, antin quinines, trace elements, phenylalanine, magnesium, etc.
  • Anti-bacterial
    Active substances contained in cheese fruit juice can kill bacteria that cause infections, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Protens morganii, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, and Escherichia coli. Anti-bacterial substances can also control pathogenic bacteria (deadly) such as Salmonella montivideo, S. scotmuelleri, S. typhi, Shigella dusenteriae, S. flexnerii, S. pradysenteriae, and Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Anticancer
    Anti-cancer substances found in cheese fruit are most effective against abnormal cells.
  • Xeronine and Proxeronine
    One of the important alkaloids found in cheese fruit is xeronine. Cheese fruit contains only a small amount of xeronine, but many contain ingredients (precursors) xeronine aka proxeronine in large quantities. Proxeronine is a type of nucleic acid-like other colloids. Xeronine is absorbed by the body’s cells to activate inactive proteins, regulating the structure and shape of the active cell.
  • Terpenoids
    This substance helps in the process of organic synthesis and recovery of body cells.
  • Scolopetin
    Scolopetin compound is very effective as an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic element.


Characteristics of Cheese Fruit Leaf

Morinda citrifolia Leaf
Source : Gutierrez

The leaves are large, single, thick glossy, growing face to face. The shape is lancet, measuring 15-50 x 5-17 cm with a leaf base shaped pegs.

Cheese fruit leaf can be eaten as a vegetable. The nutritional value is quite high because it contains a lot of vitamin A which can overcome ambein.


Characteristics of Cheese Fruit Flower

Morinda citrifolia Flower
Source : Nelson

The cheese fruit flower is composed of compounds, white in color, rounded hump type flowering, 1-4 cm in the stem, and grows in the armpit of the leaf.


Characteristics of Cheese Fruit

Morinda citrifolia Fruit
Source : ASRIWAN

Cheese fruit is formed from the merging of fruit and humped inside. The development of the fruit gradually follows the process of flower blooming which starts from the end of the hump to the base with a diameter of about 7-10 cm.

The surface of the fruit is compounded as being divided into speckled and warty polygonal baffles, which come from the rest of the single fruit.

The color of cheese fruit is green when young, and yellowish-white after ripe. The flesh is soft, white, and is formed from mesocarp. The flesh contains a lot of water whose aroma is like rotten cheese or the smell of goats arising from the mixing of capric acid (fatty acids with ten carbon atoms), caproic acid (C6), and caprylic acid (C8). It is suspected that the last two compounds are active antibiotics.


Characteristics of Cheese Fruit Tree

Morinda citrifolia Tree
Source : Hunt

The cheese fruit tree grows as a small tree with a height of between 3-5 meters. The trunk is bent, bent stiff, rough, and has deep taproots.

The cheese fruit tree grows in the lowlands to an altitude of 1500 m above sea level and tolerates various types of soil as well as slightly hot temperatures without shade.

Betawi people usually use young cheese fruit leaves to make traditional food known as Nasi Goreng Betawi.

While the people of Aceh use cheese fruit as a vegetable and salad. The leaves are also used as one of the ingredients of Nicah Peugaga (a traditional Aceh salad) which often appears as a compulsory iftar menu.


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