Alexandrian laurel

Tahitian names

Ati (S, T, G, A), Tamanu (S, T, G, A), Temanu (M)

Interesting facts

According to Grepin, almonds can be consumed, combined with other plants, as an abortifacient. These almonds are used to make an oil, known worldwide, for its virtues. It has recognized healing properties, can cure skin problems, heal stretch marks, relieve muscle pain, and treat burns and pimples among other things. Either the pure oil can be used or the tamanu almonds mixed with monoi. It is also involved in hair beatification according to Barrau. This sacred tree was planted near or around the marae. Representations of gods, tiki, were carved in its wood. The almonds mixed with other vegetable extracts was used to make dyeing ingredients for tapa. The leaves can be made into a decoction for baths to calm fevers or headaches.


Family Clusiaceae
Biogeographical status Polynesian introduction
Life form tree
Abundance on Tetiaroa not common
Ecosystem on Tetiaroa mixed forest
sources & credits

Butaud J.F., Gérard J., Guibal D., 2011. Guide des arbres de Polynésie française, bois et utilisations. 2e édition, Au vent des îles, 616 p.

Grepin F., Grepin M., 1870-1880. La médecine traditionnelle par F. Grepin et M. Grepin. Direction des Centres d'Expérimentations Nucléaires. Service Mixte de Contrôle Biologique.

Barrau, 1971. Useful plants of Tahiti. Société des Océanistes, Paris, Dossier 8, 33 p.

Jost X., Ansel J.L., Raharivelomanana P., Butaud J.F., 2016. Ethnobotanical survey of cosmetic plants used in Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia). Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 22 p.


S: Society | T: Tuamotu | M: Marquesas | G: Gambier | A: Australs | FP: French Polynesia