Pandanus Trees in Australia


There are a few different kinds of pandanus trees in Australia.


These plants are not closely related to palm trees. There are about 600 species of them in the world, and different species vary in size. They commonly have a broad canopy and heavy fruits, leaves and branches which is why they often grow large prop roots to support all that weight.

Close-Up of a Hala Tree, Limahuli Garden, Kauai, Hawaii, USA
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Uses of Fruit and Leaf in Australia
They are either male or female plants. They have large fruit that turns gradually from green to red as they mature. The fruit is eatable in many species and Aboriginal People used pandanus fruits as medicine and food. Their leaves are heavy and strong, and were also used by indigenous people for clothing, fishing and as decorations. Animals like bats, crabs and rats are also known to eat their fruit.
Screw Palm (P spiralis) is the commonest species in Australia. It is found in the whole Kimberley region in Western Australia, the northern third of the Northern Territory, and the whole Cape York peninsula including inland, and further south until Mackay coast. It grows up to 12m high, and it’s got prop roots, a brown trunk, dull green leaves with a whitish bloom, small white flowers and fruits arranged in pineapple-like clusters.

Hawaiian Pandanus with Fruit
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Screw Pine (P tectorius) is the largest species that can grow up to 18m high, and has prop roots, pale grey trunk, mid-green to bluish-green leaves, and fruits in pineapple-like clusters. It is found along the eastern coast of Australia between Byron Bay in New South Wales and the top of Cape York peninsula in Queensland.
Pandanus (P gemmifer) grows up to 8m high, has prop roots, a pale brown trunk, dark green, thick leathery leaves, and fruits that are arranged in pineapple-like clusters. It is found along the coast of northern Queensland between Innisfail in south and Iron Range National Park on the Cape York peninsula in north.

A Fruiting Pandanus in New Guinea's Foja Mountains
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River Pandanus (P aquaticus) is the smallest species in Australia. It grows up to 5m tall and has a pinkish-brown trunk, creamy-white flowers, bluish-green leaves and green fruits that turn red as they ripen, arranged in globular clusters. It is found in the Top End of Northern Territory, and in a few small pockets in the Kimberley region in Western Australia, and Lawn Hill National Park area in north-western outback Queensland.
















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