Beach hibiscus

Tahitian names

Purau (S, T, G, A), Fau (S, T, M, A), Hau (S, A)

Interesting facts


It is a very useful tree in French Polynesia. Its wood is light and very resistant, it is perfect to make houses, canoes, furniture and other tools. Its yellow flowers have medicinal properties to heal skin problems like chicken pox. The inner bark is used in recipes against filariasis among other things. The inner bark is also used to make fiber skirt called "more", or all types of rigging, and also "tapa" (or bark cloth). The heart-shaped leaves can be used as plates or to wrap food.

Family Malvaceae
Biogeographical status Polynesian introduction
Life form tree
Abundance on Tetiaroa common
Ecosystem on Tetiaroa mixed forest
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.

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


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