Saturday, 10 May 2014


Noni juice is one of those trendy "health tonics" that you can buy from health food stores at inflated prices. You can see it up around $40 a litre. There isn't any good quality evidence to suggest it has any actual health benefits, but that doesn't stop such things being sold to the credulous.

This came to mind today as I waited for a bus near the traffic lights at General Aviation and noticed a flowering shrub next to me. Morinda citrifolia, also known as rotten cheese fruit, is the source of noni juice. It's native to our region as well as the Northern Territory, where it's grown as a commercial crop.

Morinda citrifolia is also another of the plants that we planted when I was with Conservation Volunteers Australia a few years ago. It grows to a height of about eight meters, and is commonly used along waterways. You'll find it at Cattana Wetlands, in the Cairns Swamp, and even along the creek beside the Captain Cook Highway at Aeroglen.

As the fruit ripens it turns from green to a translucent white, and begins to smell like rotten cheese. I'm not sure how juicy the fruit is so i don't know if you could get $40 worth from one small tree, and the reported odour puts me off trying to find out. I've still never tasted the fruit either.

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