What’s that old saw about one door opening…?

Is there, I wonder, a horticultural equivalent?

If so, I have a real, live example. Feeling a bit fed up the day my galangal finally died (mainly because I was looking forward to seeing it grow, but also because it cost me fifteen quid), I got home to find that two of my Morinda citrifolia seeds had germinated.

Never heard of it?

Neither had I until I saw it on a Rick Stein cookery programme.

It has a number of common names Great Morinda, Indian Mulberry, Beach Mulberry, Cheese fruit tree and also Vomit fruit tree.

Native to SE Asia it has been spread through the world, especially the Pacific and Tahiti is one of the main growing areas.

In Indonesia, or Malaysia (I forget which) they use the green glossy leaves in cooking, but elsewhere they seem to eat the fruit (called Noni in Hawaii), but apparently only as a famine food – I gather from the last of the common names listed above that it doesn’t taste great. It has however been used medicinally and there are claims of the health benefits of the juice.

I bought the seeds over t’internet back at the beginning of the summer, nicked the thick outer seedcoats on of 3 of them and sat the pots on a sunny window sill.


During my period of illness a couple of months back, as well as being perpetually grumpy, I was extremely bored. At some point I found the packet of Morinda seeds. They’re about the size of apple pips by the way. When I dropped three in a glass of water they all floated; generally a sign that a seed is dead.

Three things occurred to me:

They were dead.

The seed coat was so thick and woody it might be making them float.

Floating might be a dispersal mechanism for a plant that is called the Beach Morinda.

So I left them for 24 hours to see what happened.

They carried on floating.

I was probably seriously ill for a bit because they stayed in the water for two more days.

They carried on floating.

So I fished them out, pared off thickish slivers of seed coat and put them in a lidded, flat plastic container on a bed of wet kitchen roll. This little box I placed on the floor of the airing cupboard, which is very warm sitting as it does directly above heating pipes and also because there are gaps between the floor boards.

And then I forgot about them.

A month later, the day I came home disappointed that my Alpinia had gone for a burton, something made me check the airing cupboard and I found that two seeds had germinated.

I potted both on, but only one has thrown up a shoot.

It seemed to me that they were the glossiest seed leaves I had ever seen and the little chap is getting VIP treatment.

The only trouble is that I find on checking that it could grow into a 30ft tree.