(Presl.) Kubitzki 1970
Hernandia nymphaeifolia is a tree with 5-22 m high. The leaves are narrowly or broadly ovate or subcircular. The 5-9 veins are palmate. The flowers are white or greenish, hermaphrodite, with fragrant odour; male and female are separated. The fruit is fleshy, waxy red or white.
This species occurs throughout the tropics (Duyfjes 1996) exclusively in coastal areas: along the sea-shore in littoral forest and in coastal swamps. Fujita (1991) lists H. nymphaeifolia as being seed dispersed by the Marianas flying fox in the Mariana Islands.
Hernandia nymphaeifolia has a light, perishable wood. It has been used in South Pacific islands for fishing rods, fish net floats, wooden sandals, fan handles, drawing boards, canoe accessories, furniture and firewood, etc. A woody layer surrounds the seed of the lantern tree fruit. The Tahaitians polish the round brown seeds to a high gloss and fashion them into necklaces. The Marshallese bathe children in a healing bath made from H. nymphaeifolia leaves and relieve headaches with a preparation from other tree parts. The effect of lignans from this species on Ca2+ signaling in human neutrophils has been studied.
In parts of New Britain and Vanuatu, its wood is used for to make canoe hulls. In New Britain, the Nakanai people also use its wood to make hourglass drums. The flowers are used to treat asthma on Waya Island, Fiji.