aerial prop roots




pronounced: pan-day-NAY-see-eye

the pandanus family


The word pandanus comes from the Malay word pandan or pandang, meaning conspicuous. The family includes trees, shrubs, lianas, epiphytes and perennial herbs. The stems may be simple or bifurcately branched, and may have aerial prop roots. The stems bear prominent leaf scars. The leaves are long and narrow, sheathing, simple, undivided, with parallel veins; the leaf margins and abaxial midribs are often prickly. The common name for the Pandanus genus is ‘screw-pine’, the trunks often appearing to have a screw-thread around them, formed by the leaf scars; so the leaves appear to be spirally arranged, whereas they are actually alternate. The plants are dioecious, with inflorescences generally borne terminally. The inflorescence is commonly a racemose spadix with subtended bracts, which may be brightly coloured. The flowers themselves are minute, borne on pedicels. The female flowers have a superior ovary, usually many carpels in a ring; but sometimes these are reduced to a row of carpels, or even a single carpel. The male flowers have numerous stamens, and the filaments are sometimes fused. Fruits are berries or drupes, usually multiple.


Photograph © Donald Simpson 2012