Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Pandanus conicus H.St.John

Palm, pandan or cycad
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Fruit. © CSIRO
Male inflorescence and floral bracts. © CSIRO
Fruit. © CSIRO
Fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage, cotyledons still attached, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 1st leaf stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

St John, H. (1960) Pacific Science 14 : 234. Type: Queensland, Leo Creek, Upper Nesbit River, 16 Aug. 1948, Brass 19866; holo: BRI.

Common name

Screw Palm; Pine, Screw; Screw Pine; Pandan; Palm, Screw


Tree to ca. 10 m tall, branches somewhat spreading. Prop roots are present, ca. 40-50 cm long, slender. Numerous spiny conical nodules (warty) on trunk. Plants male or female.


Leaf blades about 120-200 x 2.5-3.5 cm, often longer, shallowly M-shaped in transverse section. Spines ascending, present on the margins and on the midrib underside of leaf, spines usually absent from the very base. Leaf narrowing to a long and slender tip.


A terminal spike. Male flowers: Inflorescence with floral bracts about 1 m long; flowers fragrant; iInflorescence about 40 cm long; stamens about 18-22 in each flower; pollen white; staminal filaments thick and fleshy; anthers twisting like a corkscrew after dehiscence. Female flowers: Inflorescences globular or ovoid, about 30-40 mm diam., enclosed in pale leaf-like bracts until maturity; flowers numerous (more than 100 in each inflorescence); individual flowers sessile, conical, hard, 12-14 are grouped into segments (phalanges).


Fruit a multiple fruit, orange or red, about 15-24 cm long x 10-16 cm diam, with about 10-45 segments (phalanges). Each segment about 4-5 x 3-4 cm, +/- blunt at each end. The outer end of each segment ends in 13-16 processes. About 14 seeds per segment. Seeds about 10 x 3.5 mm.


First pair of leaves linear, sessile, apex aristate, margins usually armed with a few spines towards the apex. Venation longitudinal. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade linear, sessile, apex aristate, margins and the midrib on the underside of the leaf blade armed with sharp spines. Marginal spines pointing upwards, midrib spines pointing downwards. Venation longitudinal, midrib depressed on the upper surface of the leaf blade. Seed germination time 18 to 456 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, from Cape York south to Silver Plains. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 500 m. Grows as an understory plant in rainforest, vine thickets and mangrove margins.

Pandanus sphaericus H.St.John, Pacific Science; a quarterly devoted to the biological and physical sciences of the pacific region 15: 563(1961), Type: Australia, Queensland, Cape York Peninsula, abundant locally in rain forest behind the coa Pandanus cochleatus H.St.John, Pacific Science; a quarterly devoted to the biological and physical sciences of the pacific region 14: 236(1960).
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