Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Pandanus gemmifer H.St.John

Palm, pandan or cycad
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Fruit. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: J. Wrigley.
Trunk showing pups. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: J. Wrigley.
Fruit. © CSIRO

St.John, H. (1962) Science; a quarterly devoted to the biological and physical sciences of the pacific region 16: 74. Type: Australia, North Queensland, Cairns, Fresh Water Creek, moist forest by stream, near intake, 500 ft. alt., Jan. 29, 1958, H. St. John 26,238 (BISH).

Common name

Pup Pandan; Pandan, Pup


Tree to 10 m tall, branches somewhat erect. Trunk pale brown and up to 15 cm DBH, with scattered spiny conical nodules (warty). Well-developed prop roots 30-50 x 3-4 cm, warty. Plants male or female. May produce plantlets (pups) along the trunk which fall to the ground and take root, forming thickets.


Leaves spirally arranged with drooping tips; sword-like, thick and leathery, dark green, up to 2.5 m long and 5 cm wide; M-shaped in cross section, deeply channelled above with slightly curling margins. Spines ascending, present on leaf at mid-section margins, and on the apex margins and midrib.


A terminal spike. Male flowers: fragrant. Female flowers in solitary ovoid heads of densely packed ovaries on long stalks in the centre of the leafy crowns. Individual flowers sessile, conical, hard, 13-17 are grouped into segments (phalanges).


Fruit a multiple fruit, red, about 20-25 cm long x 10-18 cm diam, with about 30-40 segments (phalanges), each segment 3-6 x 3-4 cm, 4-6 -sided, domed upper surface with 8-17 crowded slender pointed tips. Deep red when ripe and drop to the ground. Seeds spindle-shaped, up to 15 x 4 mm.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs from CYP and NEQ, from Silver Plains to the Paluma Range south of Ingham. Altitudinal range 10-760 m. Grows in rainforest and vine thickets.


Pandanus monticola F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 40 (1865), Type: e montibus sinui Rockinghams Bay. Pandanus pluvisilvaticus H.St.John, Pacific Science; a quarterly devoted to the biological and physical sciences of the pacific region 21: 279 (1967), Type: Australia, North Queensland, Kuranda, Black Mt. Road, rain forest with Acacia, Calamu

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