Beach heliotrope

Tahitian names

Velvet tree
Tahinu (S, T), Tohonu (S, T, A), Geogeo (T)

Interesting facts

This tree grows exclusively on the seashore. It is especially abundant on atolls. Its wood is very resistant to salt and buds, it's used to make furniture, canoes, or in all types of construction. Its leaves, prepared as a decoction, can relieve the symptoms of ciguatera (or "gratte"). Bark and cooked leaves can also relieve them if the sick person drink it like an infusion. Flowers, which smell good, are sometimes used to make monoi.



Biogeographical status


Life form


Abundance on Tetiaroa


Ecosystem on Tetiaroa

beach (backshore)

sources & credits

Butaud J.F., 2013. Tuamotu du centre, Guide floristique. Direction de l'Environnement.

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

Photos: Tetiaroa Society & Jean-Yves Hiro Meyer


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