Beach gardenia

Tahitian names

Sea randa, Zebra wood
Tafano (S, T, A), Kahaia (T), Hano (M)

Interesting facts

The little white flowers of Tafano smell very good, and are used to make necklaces and crown of flowers. These flowers can also be used in the preparation of monoi to hydrate and perfume skin and hair. Its resistant wood allow it to be made into traditional canoes, and furniture. The charcoal could even be used for dental hygiene in Marquesas Islands. Its large leaves sometimes replace plates or help wrap food to be cooked.  



Biogeographical status


Life form

shrub or small tree

Abundance on Tetiaroa


Ecosystem on Tetiaroa

mixed forest, beach (backshore)

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.

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.

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


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