Characteristics of Matoa Tree (Pometia pinnata) in the Wild

Pometia pinnata
Matoa or Island Lychee is a woody tree and fruit producer of the Sapindaceae family. This tree comes from Southeast Asia, especially in Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea, and the Pacific region.

The trees can be planted in the lowlands to an altitude of 1,200 m above sea level. The matoa tree grows well in areas where the soil is dry (not waterlogged) with a thick/deep layer of soil. The climate that the matoa tree needs for good growth are a climate with high rainfall (> 1200 mm / year).

In Indonesia, many matoa trees are found growing in Sulawesi, Maluku, and Papua.

Especially in Papua, there are 2 types of matoa, namely coconut matoa, and matoa papeda. The distinguishing feature of the two is found in the texture of the fruit. Coconut matoa is characterized by its chewy flesh like rambutan Aceh, fruit diameter 2-3 cm, and seed diameter 1-1.5 cm. While the papeda matoa is characterized by its slightly mushy and sticky flesh with a fruit diameter of 1.5-2 cm.

The matoa tree is easy to adapt to hot and cold conditions. The tree is also resistant to fruit-destroying insects.


Characteristics of Matoa Leaf

Pometia pinnata Leaf
Source : Yi Shuen

The leaves of the matoa are large, pinnate, and dark green in color.


Characteristics of Matoa Flower and Fruit

Pometia pinnata Flower
Source : Yi Shuen

Pometia pinnata Fruit
Source :
Matoa fruit is green when young and yellow or red when ripe, about 4 cm long, and each fruit has one seed.

The fruit appears once a year, its physical form is somewhat similar to lychee, it can be eaten directly and tastes sweet.


Characteristics of Matoa Tree

Pometia pinnata Tree
Source : Yi Shuen

The matoa tree grows moderately with an average height of 18-20 meters and a trunk diameter of up to 1 meter. The tree thrives in areas where the soil conditions are dry and deep.

Wild matoa trees are mostly found in Papua, to be precise in areas that have an altitude between 1,000 and 1,200 m above sea level.


Besides being delicious, Matoa fruit has several benefits for health and beauty.

  • 1.) Matoa fruit can reduce high blood pressure
    Matoa fruit can help lower high blood pressure due to the content of substances that are diuresis. This substance can increase the amount of fluid removed from the body. If the fluid levels in the body are high, blood pressure will increase.
  • 2.) Matoa fruit can ward off chronic diseases
    This is because the Matoa fruit has tannins which are antioxidants. Antioxidants themselves are the main antidotes to free radicals that attack the body. Free radicals that enter the body can cause cells to damage and cause chronic diseases such as disease, stroke, and diabetes.
  • 3.) Matoa fruit can increase female fertility
    Matoa fruit contains vitamin E and antioxidants that can increase female fertility. Vitamin E in Matoa contains antibodies that can protect eggs and increase fertility by 20-30%. Vitamin E is also useful for maintaining healthy skin. To be precise, this fruit can increase skin cell regeneration which can reduce the signs of aging. In addition, vitamin E is also an antioxidant that can protect the skin from exposure to free radicals and UV rays.
  • 4.) Matoa fruit is rich in vitamin C
    Vitamin C contained in Matoa fruit functions to ward off free radicals, calcium, and potassium.
  • 5.) Matoa fruit relieves stress
    Matoa fruit contains several compounds that can be used as natural sedatives.
  • 6.) Matoa prevent acne
    This oval fruit matoa has several compounds that are antimicrobial so that it can fight the bacteria on the facial skin that causes acne.


To cultivate matoa trees, farmers usually use two methods, namely grafting (vegetative) and seedling (generative). However, the method of grafting is preferred because the tree will bear fruit more quickly.


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