Common name: Water Pandan
Origin of Scientific Name
Pandanus – a Latinised version of Pandan, the name of the plant in Malay
aquaticus – (Latin) found in or by water
Pandanus aquaticus is a small tree-like monocot with a strong architectural form that grows to seven metres high and four metres wide. It has strappy dark green leaves arranged in spirals with spines on the margins that make the plant spikey to touch. This species occurs close to water in the northern region of Western Australia including Derby-West Kimberley, Halls Creek to Wyndham-East Kimberley.
The Water Pandan flowers from June with fruit ripening from December to May. The large fruit resembles a wooden pineapple with orange wedges 5–10 cm long, each containing a few slender seeds. Each wedge has a fleshy base imbued with a sweet-smelling, orange pulp.
The seeds of the Water Pandan are edible; however, unlike the fruit of the closely related species Pandanus spiralis, which can be eaten either raw or roasted, the fruit of Pandanus aquaticus are only edible after much preparation. Prop roots of the plant are also used by Aboriginal people to make paint brushes and tying rope, and the leaves used for weaving and basket making.
The characteristic appearance of the Pandanus imparts a tropical flavour to any landscape and also makes an interesting container plant.
- Propagation is from fresh seed, ideally pre-soaked for 24 hours prior to sowing.
- It requires a sunny location and plenty of water during the warmer summer months.
For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.
View in Kings Park
Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see Pandanus aquaticus in the Kimberley garden beds near Forrest Carpark in the Western Australian Botanic Garden.
Want more information?
Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.