Hernandia Nymphaeifolia
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Hernandia Nymphaeifolia

Hernandia nymphaeifolia
Hernandia nymphaeifolia.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Magnoliids
Order: Laurales
Family: Hernandiaceae
Genus: Hernandia
H. nymphaeifolia
Binomial name
Hernandia nymphaeifolia
(Presl.) Kubitzki 1970

Hernandia nymphaeifolia is a species of plant in the Hernandiaceae family. Its common name is lantern tree.


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.[1]

H.nymphaeifolia shrub

Distribution and Ecology

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.[2]

It is one of the most common beach trees in New Ireland.[3]


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.[4]

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.[3]


  1. ^ Threatened Species of the Northern Territory. Hernandia nymphaeifolia [1] Archived 2011-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ http://batplants.co.uk/lantern.htm
  3. ^ a b Pawley, Andrew; Osmond, Meredith (eds). 2008. The lexicon of Proto Oceanic: The culture and environment of ancestral Oceanic society. Volume 3: Plants. Pacific Linguistics 599. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, Australian National University.
  4. ^ Novel action of lignans isolated from Hernandia nymphaeifoliaon . Archives of Toxicology Volume 75, Numbers 11-12, 695-702, doi:10.1007/s00204-001-0294-6

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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