The post of French Polynesia issued a booklet with 6 auto-adhesive stamps illustrating the fruits of French Polynesia. The stamps feature a mango, a papaya, a pineapple, a coconut, a water melon and a banana.
The mango has an oval shape, a smooth skin, and a colour ranging from greenish yellow to orange red. Its orange yellow flesh is very rich in vitamins and a source of carotene. In Polynesia, there are several varieties including the classic "grafted" mango but also other varieties such as atoni, painapo, huehue, carrot.
The papaya tree is a 3-10 m high fruit tree. The leaves are carried by a long stem. The fruit, the papaya, takes an orange-yellow colour when ripe. Its orange-yellow pulp is sweet, juicy and sweet-smelling. In Polynesia, there are two varieties: the solo papaya (small and sweet-smelling) and the so-called Hawaiian papaya (long-shaped and with less colour inside).
The pineapple has an oval shape and its bark looks like dark green scales when not ripe. They turn orange-yellow when ripe. In Polynesia, the "painapo", is today the most cultivated plant on the island of Moorea, where fruits are processed into juice. Pineapples may be consumed cooked or even dried.
The coconut tree is a tropical symbol by itself. It may be used in many ways: the water in the coconut shell is a refreshing beverage; the ripe pulp when squeezed gives coconut milk, which is an important ingredient in the Tahitian cuisine. From the grated ripe almond, the Tahitians draw the oil to make Monoi.
With a water content of 92%, the water melon is a creeping plant that can be as long as 3 meters. The leaves are indented and feature triangular shapes. Fruits are round or oval, with a streaked skin. The water melon quenches the thirst and is refreshing. Two varieties are cultivated in Polynesia. Children just love it!
The banana tree is a herbaceous plant (3 to 5 m). The fruit turns from dark green to more or less dark yellow. The varieties cultivated in Polynesia are very numerous. In the world, there are some sixty species. The most characteristic one in Tahiti is certainly the orange-coloured fe'i, often served for Tahitian meals (ma'a Tahiti).