Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Pandanus zea H.St.John

Palm, pandan or cycad
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Flower. © CSIRO
© W. T. Cooper
Prop roots. © CSIRO
Characteristic ridges on prop roots [not vouchered]. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Flower and leaves. © CSIRO

St.John, H. (1960) Pacific Science; a quarterly devoted to the biological and physical sciences of the pacific region 14: 239. Type: Australia, Queensland, Cape York Peninsula, Iron Range, common in hollows and gullies in rain forest, 20 m. alt., June 22, 1948, L.J. Brass 19,293 (BRI).

Common name

Corncob Pandan; Pandan, Corncob


Tree to 12 m tall. Crown little branched, trunk with a few long prop roots. Trunk and prop roots with spine-like nodules. Plants male or female.


Leaves 2-3 m long x 60-100 mm wide. Spines on margins from base to tip; on midrid, spines present near tip, sometimes absent. Spines pointing outwards or towards leaf tip.


Fruit a multiple fruit, orange, about 20-22 cm long x 70-75 cm diam., enclosed in long yellow-brown bracts. Segments (phalanges) very numerous, 4-10 mm diam. Seeds black.


First pair of true leaves have minute spine-like teeth on the margins. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade linear to narrowly lanceolate, sessile, with numerous small spine-like teeth along the margins. Marginal spines pointing upwards. Venation longitudinal, reticulations visible, midrib flat to slightly depressed on the upper surface of the leaf blade. Leaf bases sheathing stem. Seed germination time 43 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP from Cape York to the McIlwraith Range. Altitudinal range from sea level to 560 m. Grows in rainforest, palm forest and other rainforest types near creeks.

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