Screw palms

Pandanus sp. (Pandanaceae)

Characteristics

Tropical shrubs (1 m) or trees (up to 20 m) with candelabra-like branching and spiny adventitious roots. Leaves and fruit resemble those of the pineapple plant, although they are not closely related. Pandanus are dioecious (male and female flowers produced on different plants).

Distribution

Native to Old World tropics and subtropics.

Traditional medical use in Fiji

A drink made from the aerial roots of Voivoi (Fijian name) is given for four days to treat an illness known as “crazy child”, in which the eyes wander. Asthma and back pains are also treated with a filtrate of aerial roots. Liquid squeezed from above ground aerial roots and inner bark is employed in the treatment of heart attack. Fish poisoning is treated with fluid pressed from above ground aerial roots.

Did you know?

Although Pandanus plants are called “Screw palms” or “Screw pines”, they are not closely related to palms or pines.

Pandanus has multiple uses, like source of food and raw material for clothing. Basket weaving and shelter.

 

Further reading:

Literature

World Flora Online
WorldChecklist of Selected Plant Families
A working list of all plant species