Pandanaceae Home Page
Pandanaceae is a large family (3 genera, about 900 species) of
trees, shrubs and root climbers found in the Old World
tropical and subtropical regions, from West Africa through
the Pacific. Most members of the family prefer living in coastal
or marshy areas. Stems have aerial prop roots to provide support
and display sympodial branching. The
stems bear prominent leaf scars. The common name for pandans is
'screwpines' because their stems are twisted, so leaves appear to be
spirally arranged (the leaves are in reality alternate). The
leaves are very long and narrow, sheathing, simple, undivided, with
parallel veins; the leaf margins and adaxial midribs are typically very
prickly. The plants are dioecious. Inflorescences are
terminally borne. The flowers are minute, borne on
pedicels, and are arranged in a racemose spadix with a subtended spathe
or bracts which may be brightly colored. Female flowers have a
superior ovary usually of many carpels in a ring but may be reduced to
a row of carpels or a single carpel. Male flowers contain
numerous stamens arranged in a raceme or umbel with free or fused
filaments. Both male and female flowers lack a calyx and
corolla. Pandan fruits are berries or multilocular drupes, and in
several taxa the fruits resemble pineapples.
Habitat of Pandanus tectorius.
The most common species used economically is Pandanus odoratissimus.
The leaves are used to make baskets, mats, hats, and roof thatch.
Fibers are taken from the aerial roots to make cords and brushes.
Other species are used for potpourri, medicinal concoctions, and as
and perfumes in India, Thailand and Malaysia. Some species are
used as starchy food sources, such
as P. utilis and P. andamanensium; P. lendam
fruits are known as Nicobar breadfruits. Many species are used as
ornamentals such as P. veitchii
plants which have glossy dark green leaves with a
The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (PH) has many type
specimens of Pandanaceae. Using the links below, you can look at
the Academy's Pandanaceae type specimens, cross-referenced with country
Herbarium sheet of P. cominsii Hemsh var.
Stone (1933–1994) was one of the major collectors of
Pandanaceae specimens. Perhaps one of the most important
additions to the herbarium of the
Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (PH) in
recent years was the donation of Ben Stone's personal herbarium
prior to his departure from the institution in 1989.
Stone himself wrote an introduction for an unrealized publication about
his herbarium and an index to his paleotropical collections.
Created by Bryan A. Niedenberger as part of a 2005
Additions and modifications by Anne
Acknowledgements: Dr. Paul Morris, Dr. James Macklin, the Botany
Department & others
The National Science Foundation, The Academy of Natural Sciences