Herbs & Plants

Barringtonia novae hiberniae

Botanical Name: Barringtonia novae hiberniae
Family: Lecythidaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales
Genus: Barringtonia

*Barringtonia brosimos Merr. & L.M.Perry
*Barringtonia excelsa Guill.
*Barringtonia oblongifolia R.Knuth

Common Name: Pao Nut

Habitat:Barringtonia novae hiberniae is native to Australasia – New Guinea to the Bismarck Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It grows in the dense primary forest on rich alluvial soils; often near the coast but also inland to elevations of 600 metres..


Barringtonia novae hiberniae is an evergreen tree with a small crown; it can grow 6 – 8 metres tall. The bole can be 10 – 15cm in diameter. The flowers are pollinated by Moths, Bats.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.

The tree produces an edible seed that is very popular within its native range and is commonly harvested from the wild. It also has local medicinal uses and is a source of wood. The seeds are sold in local markets. The tree is cultivated in home gardens and around villages, and is generally allowed to remain and is semi-cultivated when forest is cleared.


As pao nuts often do well and are most common on low off shore islands and coral waterfront villages, they may be particularly suited to coral and alkaline soils. If trees are planted in suitable sites and well looked after, they can produce fruit in a year or two from seed. The tree can flower and produce seeds all year round. Several different races or types of pao nut have been selected by villagers and these trees seem to produce fruit that is similar to the seed that was planted. Trees grown from cuttings have shorter trunks and form branches closer to the ground.

Propagation: Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe.
Stem cutting

Edible Uses:
Seeds are eaten – raw or roasted. A flavour like raw peanuts. It has a fairly hard texture. The seed is about 3cm long and 1 – 2cm wide.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark is used in the treatment of stomach ailments and gonorrhoea. A strong tea made from the bark is claimed to induce abortion and definitive sterility.

Other Uses:
The wood is light in weight. It is used for canoe paddles, casing, light construction. The wood is used as a quick-burning firewood. Commonly planted as ornamental and shade tree and for the fruit, seeds edible.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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