Pandanus aquaticus

Common name: Water Pandan

Family: PANDANACEAE

Pandanus aquaticus in Kings Park. Photo: P. Sawyer.Origin of Scientific Name

Pandanus – a Latinised version of pandan, a Malayan name

aquaticus – growing in or near water

Description

Pandanus aquaticus is a small tree-like monocot growing 5-7 m in height x 2-4 m in width, growing singly or forming clumps with prop roots present or absent. Leaves are 100-140 cm x 5-6 cm, narrowly strap-shaped, dark green, erect to pendulous and spirally arranged with brown-tipped spines on margins. Male inflorescence branched, 20-30 cm long with whitish bracts. Male flowers are cream to yellow. Female inflorescence unbranched, subtended by numerous whitish bracts. Fruiting head drooping, 15-18 cm acros, blobular, ripening yellowish; drupes separate, fleshy when ripe, 2.5-4.4 cm long, seeds 0.6-0.7 cm long.

Distribution

This species is distributed in the northern region of Western Australia including Derby-West Kimberley, Halls Creek to Wyndham-East Kimberley. Refer to the distribution map for this species via the FloraBase online herbarium.

Flowering Season

Flowering in June-July with fruit ripening December-May.

Cultivation/Propagation

Propagation is from fresh seed. It requires a sunny location and plenty of water during the warmer summer months.

Notes

The seeds of the Pandanus are edible and were an important source of nutrition for some Aboriginal tribes. They were eaten either raw or after roasting. Prop roots were used by the Aborigines to make paint brushes and the leaves for weaving and basket making.

The characteristic appearance of the Pandanus imparts a tropical flavour to any landscape, also making an interesting container plant.

View in Kings Park

This species can be viewed in the Kimberley beds of the Western Australian Botanic Garden.