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Pandanus utilis fruit.JPG
Fruit of Pandanus utilis
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Pandanales
Family: Pandanaceae
Genus: Pandanus

See List of Pandanus species

  • Keura Forssk.
  • Athrodactylis J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.
  • Pandanus Rumph. ex L.f. (1782) not Parkinson (1773)
  • Dorystigma Gaudich.
  • Eydouxia Gaudich.
  • Fisquetia Gaudich.
  • Foullioya Gaudich.
  • Heterostigma Gaudich.
  • Hombronia Gaudich.
  • Jeanneretia Gaudich.
  • Roussinia Gaudich.
  • Souleyetia Gaudich.
  • Sussea Gaudich.
  • Tuckeya Gaudich.
  • Vinsonia Gaudich.
  • Marquartia Hassk.
  • Hasskarlia Walp. (1849) not Meisn. (1840) nor Baill. (1860)
  • Barrotia Gaudich.
  • Bryantia Webb ex Gaudich.
  • Doornia de Vries
  • Rykia de Vriese

Pandanus is a genus of monocots with some 750 accepted species.[2] They are palm-like, dioecious trees and shrubs native to the Old World tropics and subtropics. Common names include pandan[3] (/ˈpændən/),[4] screw palm,[3] and screw pine.[3] They are classified in the order Pandanales, family Pandanaceae.[5][6]


Aerial, prop roots[7]

Often called pandanus palms, these plants are not closely related to palm trees. The species vary in size from small shrubs less than 1 m (3.3 ft) tall, to medium-sized trees 20 m (66 ft) tall, typically with a broad canopy, heavy fruit, and moderate growth rate.[8] The trunk is stout, wide-branching, and ringed with many leaf scars.[9] Mature plants can have branches.[9] Depending on the species, the trunk can be smooth, rough, or warty.[10][11] The roots form a pyramidal tract to hold the trunk.[12] They commonly have many thick stilt roots near the base, which provide support as the tree grows top-heavy with leaves, fruit, and branches.[13] These roots are adventitious and often branched. The top of the plant has one or more crowns of strap-shaped leaves that may be spiny,[5][6] varying between species from 30 cm (12 in) to 2 m (6.6 ft) or longer, and from 1.5 cm (0.59 in) up to 10 cm (3.9 in) broad.

They are dioecious, with male and female flowers produced on different plants. The flowers of the male tree are 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) long and fragrant, surrounded by narrow, white bracts. The female tree produces flowers with round fruits that are also bract-surrounded. The individual fruit is a drupe, and these merge to varying degrees forming multiple fruit, a globule structure, 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) in diameter and have many prism-like sections, resembling the fruit of the pineapple. Typically, the fruit changes from green to bright orange or red as it matures. The fruits can stay on the tree for more than 12 months.


These plants grow from sea level to 3,300 m (10,800 ft). Pandanus trees are of cultural, health, and economic importance in the Pacific, second only to the coconut on atolls.[14][15] They grow wild mainly in semi-natural vegetation in littoral habitats throughout the tropical and subtropical Pacific, where they can withstand drought, strong winds, and salt spray. They propagate readily from seed, but popular cultivars are also widely propagated from branch cuttings by local people.[5]

Species growing on exposed coastal headlands and along beaches have thick 'stilt roots' as anchors in the loose sand.[5][16] Those stilt roots emerge from the stem, usually close to but above the ground, which helps to keep the plants upright and secure them to the ground.[13]

While pandanus are distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical islands and coastlines of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans,[17][18][19] they are most numerous on the low islands and barren atolls of Polynesia and Micronesia.[20][21][22][23] Other species are adapted to mountain habitats and riverine forests.[24]

The tree is grown and propagated from shoots that form spontaneously in the axils of lower leaves. Pandanus fruits are eaten by animals including bats, rats, crabs, and elephants, but the vast majority of species are dispersed primarily by water.[12] Its fruit can float and spread to other islands without help from humans.[18]

Cultivation and uses

Making pandan wicker
Sponge cake flavoured with pandan leaf extract.
J. van Aken: Pandanus repens, 1860-1870
J. van Aken: Pandanus humilis, 1860-1870

Pandanus leaves are used for handicrafts. Artisans collect the leaves from plants in the wild, cutting only mature leaves so that the plant will naturally regenerate. The leaves are sliced into fine strips and sorted for further processing. Weavers produce basic pandan mats of standard size or roll the leaves into pandan ropes for other designs. This is followed by a coloring process, in which pandan mats are placed in drums with water-based colors. After drying, the colored mats are shaped into final products, such as placemats or jewelry boxes. Final color touch-ups may be applied.

Pandan leaves from Pandanus amaryllifolius are used widely in Southeast Asian and South Asian cuisines to add a distinct aroma to various dishes and to complement flavors like chocolate. Because of their similarity in usage, pandan leaves are sometimes referred to as the "vanilla of Asia."[25][26][27] Fresh leaves are typically torn into strips, tied in a knot to facilitate removal, placed in the cooking liquid, then removed at the end of cooking. Dried leaves and bottled extract may be bought in some places.

Pandan leaves are known as daun pandan in Indonesian and Malay; dahon ng pandan (lit. "pandan leaf") or simply pandan in Filipino; 斑蘭 (bān lán) in Mandarin; as ใบเตย (bai toei; pronounced [bāj.tœ̄j]) in Thai, lá dứa in Vietnamese; pulao pata in Bengali; and rampe in Sinhalese and Hindi.

In Southeast Asia, pandan leaves are mainly used in sweets such as coconut jam and pandan cake. In Indonesia and Malaysia, pandan is also added to rice and curry dishes such as nasi lemak. In the Philippines, pandan leaves are commonly paired with coconut meat (a combination referred to as buko pandan) in various desserts and drinks like maja blanca and gulaman.[28]

In Indian cooking, the leaf is added whole to biryani, a kind of rice pilaf, made with ordinary rice (as opposed to that made with the premium-grade basmati rice). The basis for this use is that both basmati and pandan leaf contains the same aromatic flavoring ingredient, 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline. In Sri Lanka, pandan leaves are a major ingredient used in the country's cuisine.[29]

Kewra (also spelled Kevda or Kevada) is an extract distilled from the pandan flower, used to flavor drinks and desserts in Indian cuisine. Also, kewra or kevada is used in religious worship, and the leaves are used to make hair ornaments worn for their fragrance as well as decorative purpose in western India.[20]

Species with large and medium fruit are edible, notably the many cultivated forms of P. tectorius (P. pulposus) and P. utilis. The fruit is eaten raw or cooked.[30] Small-fruited pandanus may be bitter and astringent.[30]

Throughout Oceania, almost every part of the plant is used, with various species different from those used in Southeast Asian cooking. Pandanus trees provide materials for housing; clothing and textiles including the manufacture of dilly bags (carrying bags), fine mats or ‘ie toga; sails,[31] food, medication,[citation needed] decorations, fishing, and religious uses.

Selected species

Note: several species previously placed in Pandanus subgenus Acrostigma are now in the distinct genus Benstonea.

See also


  1. ^ "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew". Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Search results — The Plant List". Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Australian Plant Names Index". Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  4. ^ "JOBS- Assistant Botanist (Palms and Pandans) at RBG (Kew)". European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy. 2009. Archived from the original on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d David C. Hyndman (1984). "Ethnobotany of Wopkaimin Pandanus significant Papua New Guinea plant resource". Economic Botany. 38 (3): 287–303. doi:10.1007/BF02859007.
  6. ^ a b Harold St. John (1968). "Revision of the genus Pandanus Stickman, part 29. New Papuan species in the section Microstigma collected by C. E. Carr" (PDF). Pacific Science. 22 (4): 514–519. hdl:10125/12577.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-09-06. Retrieved 2005-10-10.
  8. ^ "Pandanus Trees in Australia". Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  9. ^ a b Meyen, Franz Julius Ferdinand (1846). Outlines of the Geography of Plants: With Particular Enquiries Concerning the Native Country, the Culture, and the Uses of the Principal Cultivated Plants on which the Prosperity of Nations is Based, Volumen 7. Ray Society. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  10. ^ "Factsheet - Pandanus monticola". Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Pandanus" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  12. ^ a b Reginald Edward Vaughan & P. O. Wiehe (1953). "The genus Pandanus in the Mascarene Islands". Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Botany. 55 (356): 1–33. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1953.tb00001.x.
  13. ^ a b Ugolino Martelli (1908). "The Philippine species of Pandanus". Philippine Journal of Science. 3 (2): 59–72.
  14. ^ "Pandanus tectorius (pandanus)" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  15. ^ "pandanus - definition of pandanus by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  16. ^ "Microsoft Word - 5-Seychelles formaté_RM.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  17. ^ "The mangrove vegetation of the Atlantic Coast of Africa: a review". Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  18. ^ a b "Drift Seeds And Drift Fruits : Seeds That Ride The Ocean Currents". Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  19. ^ "Revision of the Genus Pandanus Stickman, Part 5 Pandanus of the Maldive Islands and the Seychelles Islands, Indian Ocean" (PDF). Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  20. ^ a b López González, Ginés A. (2006). Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares: especies silvestres y las principales cultivadas. Mundi-Prensa. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  21. ^ Ramón de Mesonero Romanos, Gervasio Gironella, Vicente Castelló, Angel Fernández de los Ríos, Francisco Navarro Villoslada, Manuel de Assas y de Ereńo, José Muńos Maldonado, Eduardo Gasset y Artime - Google Libros (1852). Semanario pintoresco espańol. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  22. ^ D. Agustín Yañez y Girona (1845). Lecciones de historia natural: Botánica. Impr. de Benito Espona y Blay. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  23. ^ Benjamin C. Stone (1992). "The New Guinea species of Pandanus section Maysops St. Johns (Pandanaceae)". Blumea. 37 (1): 31–61.
  24. ^ "West Papua - Mining". Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  25. ^ "How to Cook With Pandan, the Vanilla of Southeast Asia". Saveur. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Discover Pandan Leaves, The Vanilla Of Southeast Asia". Asian Inspirations. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  27. ^ Wan, Yan Ling. "Grocery Ninja: Pandan, the Asian Vanilla". SeriousEats. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  28. ^ "Buko Pandan". About Filipino Food. 2016-11-30. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  29. ^ "Cooking With Kurma - Glossary".
  30. ^ a b Miller, C.D.; Murai, M.; Pen, F. (1956). "The Use of Pandanus Fruit As Food in Micronesia". Pacific Science. 10. Archived from the original on 2015-10-04. Retrieved 2014-09-03.
  31. ^ McCoy, Michael (1973). "A Renaissance in Carolinian-Marianas Voyaging". Journal of the Polynesian Society. As of 1973, all canoes on Satawal were using dacron sails sewn by the men themselves. Most Carolinian canoes had used canvas acquired during the Japanese presence in the islands. The people of Satawal, however, were reluctant to switch from the cumbersome pandanus-mat sails, probably because canoes and voyaging were included in the elaborate pre-Christian taboo system. Christianity took hold on Satawal during the decades after World War II, and the Islanders then used canvas. When I and Gary Mount, as Peace Corps volunteers, demonstrated the obvious superiority of dacron over canvas with only a 4-inch square sample, the men agreed to purchase sails for the canoes of the island. As word of the superiority of dacron spread, the people of Ifalik, Elato, Woleai, Pulusuk, Pulap and Puluwat have equipped at least one canoe on each island with dacron.
  32. ^ "Pandanus odoratus Thunb. — The Plant List". Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  33. ^ "Pandanus odorifer". Retrieved 18 December 2014.

Further reading

  • Germplasm Resources Information Network: Pandanus
  • Sorting Pandanus names
  • Wagner, W. L., Herbst, D. R., & Sohmer, S. H. (1990). Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai`i.
  • Pandanus species of the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Australia photos and text by Dave Kimble
  • Pneumatophores on Pandanus solms-laubachii - photo essay
  • Northernmost pandanus in the world, in the Azores Islands, photo.
  • Pandanus simplex fruit eaten by Varanus olivaceus, Polillo Island, Philippines.
  • "Hala: The Hawaiian Aphrodisiac" Article by Shannon Wianecki describing Hawaiian cultural uses for pandanus. Maui No Ka 'Oi Magazine Volume 15 Number. 1 (Jan 2011).

External links

Media related to Pandanus at Wikimedia Commons

  • Biological Analytics of Pandan
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