Pandanus tectorius
Common Name: screw pine 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Pandanaceae
Native Range: Australia, Malay peninsula, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, southeastern Asia
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White bracts (male)Greenish (female)
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12 where it grows in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It likes warm, humid conditions. It is intolerant of frost. It is native to some island coastal areas with oceanic conditions (salt spray and wind). In areas north of USDA Zone 10, it may be grown in containers that must be overwintered indoors from fall to spring. Propagate by seed, cuttings or root suckers. For houseplants, place container indoors in bright diffused light.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pandanus tectorius, commonly called screw pine, is an erect, multi-branched, palm-like, tropical evergreen tree that grows to 15-20' (less frequently to 30') tall. It is native from northern Australia through a number of tropical islands of the Pacific Ocean (including Indonesia, Micronesia and Polynesia) to Hawaii. Gray trunks are supported by aerial prop roots that help anchor the tree into the ground (particularly in loose sandy coastal soils). Long, linear, sword-shaped, spiny-margined, light green leaves (to 2-6' long) are spirally arranged at the branch ends (hence the common name). This tree is dioecious (male and female flowers appear on separate trees). Tiny fragrant male flowers bloom in drooping clusters enclosed by showy white bracts. Female flowers appear in compact greenish flowerheads. Female flowers are followed by edible, ovoid to rounded, segmented fruits (syncarps to 8" diameter) reminiscent of pineapples. Fruits mature from green to yellow to red, and are fragrant when ripe. Fruits are a significant food source in Micronesia (eaten raw or cooked). In native territory, the leaves of this tree have many uses, including being woven into thatch for roofs, boat sails, mats, baskets, hats and a variety of other products. Kewra water is a watery extract distilled from the flowers for use in flavoring meats, desserts and drinks.

Genus name comes from the Latinized version of the Malayan name, pandan.

Specific epithet means of the roofs of houses in reference to it being used for roof thatching.

Common name of screw pine comes from the spirally arranged leaves (screw-like spiral around stem) and the pineapple like fruit which also resembles a large pine cone.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Indoor plants are susceptible to scale and mites. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Garden Uses

Interesting fruit tree or ornamental for tropical to subtropical areas. Container plant for cooler climates.