Friday 21 August 2015


Pandanus tectorius is a species of Pandanus (screwpine) that is native to Malesia, eastern Australia, and the Pacific Islands. Common names include Tahitian screwpine, thatch screwpine, hala, fala and bacua. P. tectorius is a tree that grows to 4–14 m tall. The single trunk is spiny and forks at a height of 4–8 metres. It is supported by prop roots that firmly anchor the tree to the ground. Its leaves are usually 90–150 cm long and 5–7 cm wide with saw-like margins.

This is a dioecious plant, with very different male and female flowers. Male flowers are small, fragrant, form clusters or racemes, and short lived, lasting only a single day. Female flowers resemble pineapples. The fruit of P. tectorius (shown below) is either ovoid, ellipsoid, subglobose or globose with a diameter of 4–20 cm and a length of 8–30 cm. The fruit is made up of 38–200 wedge-like phalanges, which have an outer fibrous husk. Phalanges contain two seeds on average, with a maximum of eight reported. The phalanges are buoyant, and the seeds within them can remain viable for many months while being transported by ocean currents.

The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked and is a major source of food in Micronesia, especially in the atolls. It is also one of the traditional foods of Maldivian cuisine. The fibrous nature of the fruit also serves as a natural dental floss. The tree's leaves are often used as flavouring for sweet dishes such as kaya jam, and are also said to have medicinal properties. It is also used in Sri Lankan cookery, where the leaves are used to flavour a variety of curries. Leaves were used by the Polynesians to make baskets, mats, outrigger canoe sails, thatch roofs, and grass skirts. It is a plant of immense cultural, health, and economic importance in the Pacific, second only to coconut on atolls. It grows wild mainly in semi-natural vegetation in littoral habitats throughout the tropical and subtropical Pacific, where it can withstand drought, strong winds, and salt spray.

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  1. Pandanüsse? Never seen! Thanks for showing us!
    Herzlich Pippa

  2. I always thought that screwpine was an odd name! Tom The Backroads Traveller

  3. When we visited Australia, we saw the friut in orange, nearly ripe, but in green it looks also very nice.


  4. Hello Nick,
    thanks for these interesting information.
    I wish you a nice weekend,

    Thanks if you visit my blog

  5. Hi! Nice capture. Your post is very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  6. i looks like saba banana. Is it delicious when ripe?

  7. What a pretty 'flower'--something new and interesting--thanks for sharing.

  8. Hi Nick,
    this is a wonderful shot.
    Best, Synnöve