An erect, evergreen, coarsely branched tree that looks like a large branched candlestick or holder. It can grow to a height of 15 m. Branching is dichotomous (repeated branching into two equal parts) or trichotomous or irregular. Prop roots are numerous, thick and originate from the base of the trunk. Exposed stems are usually pale buff or grey brown, grossly ringed by leaf scars. Stems are hollow. Leaves are sword like, 1 to 2 m long and 4 to 7 cm wide, arranged spirally in three rows at the tips of the branches. In fully exposed leaves, the midrib is bent, and the upper third or so of the leaf hangs down, giving Pandanus plants their characteristic drooping appearance. Leaf apex is long and flagella like. Underside the leaves, especially at the base two clearly demarcated very pale dull green strips are present, one on either side of the midrib. Margin of the leaves and midrib are prickled. Prickles are white or with dark tip, 3 to 5 mm long, slender and slightly curved. Prickles of the midrib are forwardly directed in the distal half of the leaves and downwardly directed in the lower half. Male and female flowers are in separate trees. Male inflorescence is a raceme of spikes, and male flowers are tiny, white, and fragrant with large showy bracts. They last only for about a day, with the inflorescence decaying within three to four days. Female inflorescence is pineapple like, composed of free or joined carpels, ripening as drupes (phalanges). Fruits are variable in shape, ovoid, ellipsoid, sub-globose or globose with tightly bunched, wedge shaped fleshy drupes, which are also referred to as keys. Fruits are green when unripe, orange or red or vermilion when ripe. Each drupe or phalange is covered with a pericarp (outer layer) and the middle layer or mesocarp is divided into upper and lower mesocarp. Upper mesocarp comprises an elongated cavern with tissue containing air spaces and lower mesocarp is fleshy and fibrous and this is the portion of the fruit that is chewed and eaten. Endocarp that covers the seed is hard and stony.
Pandanus odoratissimus's facts
Pandanus /screw pine has around 600 species of pine family Pandanaceae.
Pandanus odoratissimus's Behavior & Ecology
Native range: Indo-Malaysia
Distribution: Tropical and subtropical Asia
Occurrence in Maldives: Common in coastal habitats, inland and abundant in wild.
Pandanus odoratissimus's Relationship with Humans
It was important component in the food security system of the Maldives and considered as the best source of food during famine and scarcity. Red portion of the ripe fruit is eaten raw. Juice, locally called as baipainkandhi, is extracted from the fruits by cutting them into small pieces, boiling them in water with sugar and then crushed and strained. Fruit is also used in various food preparations. It is cooked with rice and sugar to prepare a delicious traditional food called kashiko bondibaiy. A sweet soup, called kashiko baypeen, is prepared from the fruit. A sweet namely, kashiko foa is prepared by cooking pieces of fruits with sugar and wheat flour and sold in local market. Leaves, after thoroughly dried and prickles removed, are used to make a kind of soft mat called santhi. Prop root, locally called aloho, is used as a brush to paint boats. Hollow stems were once used to build houses but now are widely used to construct hargue, a place where boats are hauled for repair. Stems, which are fibrous and very soft, are widely used in making hulhuashi, a resting platform commonly found nearby the beach.