Triumfetta vine

Tahitian names

vavai (P)

Interesting facts

The vines were used in the manufacture of garments in the Tuamotus.
The leaves are used medicinally in the Marshall Islands to treat cuts and bruises.

Description: Triumfetta vine is a low-lying plant with prostrate stems up to 3 m (10 ft) long. It has yellowish flowers, small fruit covered with spines, and leaves that are broad, oval-shaped, and somewhat fleshy. Distribution: It is a coastal strand plant found on tropical sandy shores from southeast Asia to Micronesia and eastern Polynesia. Uses: The stems are used for a number of cordage or fiber purposes, including the fabrication of traditional clothing. For example, cordage is used to decorate the borders of mats, and parts of the plant are used to produce a dye for these mats. It is sometimes referred to as "old man's medicine" and is mixed with other plants to cure coughs. The leaves are used medicinally to heal cuts and open wounds.

Family Malvaceae
Biogeographical status endemic
Life form creeping subwoody plant
Abundance on Tetiaroa
Ecosystem on Tetiaroa beach
sources & credits

Material Culture in the Tuamotu Archipelago Kenneth P. Emory 1975

Spennemann, Dirk H.R. (2000). Plants and their uses in the Marshalls - Medicinal Plants. Albury: URL: http:/


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