Piñpiñ (Hernandia nymphaeifolia - Hernandiaceae)

Description: This large, indigenous coastal tree has a huge trunk and large branches. It grows up to 20 m (65 ft) or more; has large cordate (heart-shaped) leaves; small, white, 3-petaled (male) and 4-petaled (female) flowers; and fruits surrounded by a round, inflated yellowish (or reddish) covering, open at one end.

Distribution: Piñpiñ is commonly found along sandy or rocky shores from tropical East Africa to Eastern Polynesia. It is found throughout Micronesia and is reported from the following Marshall Islands: Aelōñļapļap, Arņo, Pikinni, Epoon, Jālooj, Kuwajleen, Lae, Likiep, Mājro, Namwo, Wūjlañ, and Wōtto. It is interesting to note that piñpiñ is known as pihngpihng on Kosrae. When such similar sounding words have the same meaning in different languages, they are called "cognates." This indicates that perhaps the plant and/or knowledge about it was transferred from one island to another, either in ancient or more recent times.

Uses: Piñpiñ is sometimes planted by seed to make a windbreak. Its hard wood is used for firewood, as building material, on canoes as parts for holding the sail, to make handles for fans, and sometimes to make the frame of a food grinder. The fruit ("nut") is also occasionally used to make handicrafts. The leaves are used for medicinal baths for children and adults, and parts of the plant are sometimes used in a preparation to treat headaches.

Main Plants


invisible hit counter