Pandanus

Botanical Name :Pandanus tectorius
Family:    Pandanaceae
Genus:    Pandanus
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Pandanales

Synonyms: Pandanus chamissonis,,Pandanus douglasii,Pandanus menziesii,Pandanus odoratissimus

Common Names: Pandanus, screw pine, or Pandan,Hala,Pu hala

Habitat: Pandanus trees are native to the Old World tropics and subtropics. They are classified in the order Pandanales.

Description:
Pandanus trees are palm-like, dioecious trees and shrubs growing 20 to 30 feet in height and from 15 to 35 feet in diameter. The trunk is stout and the branches grow at wide angles to it. It has distinctive long blade-like leaves (lau hala) about 2 inches wide and over 2 feet long. Most varieties have spines along the edges and on the midribs of the leaves. Spineless and variegated forms are available. The leaves are spirally arranged towards the ends of the branches and leave a spiral pattern on the trunk when they fall.  Pandanus trees develop support or prop roots (ule hala) at the base of the trunk and sometimes along the branches.

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Pandanus trees are either male or female. Female trees produce a large, segmented fruit somewhat resembling a pineapple. Male trees produce large clusters of tiny, fragrant flowers surrounded by white to cream colored bracts. These clusters are about 1 foot long and are called hinano in Hawaiian.

Propagation:
Female Pandanus tectorius trees flower 1 to 3 times a year, while male trees flower every 2 months. Pandanus tectorius is thought to reproduce sexually in Hawai’i, but there is some evidence that asexual seed development (apomixis) also occurs. Wind and small insects are assumed to be the pollinators.
The fruit of Pandanus tectorius is a round or oval head about 8 inches long and consisting of numerous segments called carpels, phalanges, or keys. There are 40 to 80 keys in each fruit. The color of the fruit ranges from yellow to orange to reddish when ripe. It takes several months for the fruits to ripen. Ripe fruits are very fragrant.

Pandanus keys are wedge shaped and 1 to 2 inches long. The inner end of the key is fleshy and the outer end is woody, generally containing a single seed. Lee found that larger fruit often contain seedless keys. Sometimes keys contain 2 seeds; infrequently, they contain more than 2 seeds.

Pandanus trees can be grown from large cuttings.

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Edible Uses:
Pandan (P. amaryllifolius) leaves are used in Southeast Asian cooking to add a distinct aroma to rice and curry dishes such as nasi lemak, kaya (‘jam’) preserves, and desserts such as pandan cake. In Indian cooking, the leaf is added whole to biryani, a kind of rice pilaf, made with ordinary rice (as opposed to that made with the premium-grade Basmati rice). The basis for this use is that both Basmati and Pandan leaf contain the same aromatic flavoring ingredient, 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline. Pandan leaf can be used as a complement to chocolate in many dishes, such as ice cream. They are known as daun pandan in Indonesian and Malay;(b?n lán) in Mandarin; (su mwei ywe) in Myanmar, and as  (bai toei; pronounced ) in Thailand. Fresh leaves are typically torn into strips, tied in a knot to facilitate removal, placed in the cooking liquid, then removed at the end of cooking. Dried leaves and bottled extract may be bought in some places.

Kewra is an extract distilled from the pandanus flower, used to flavor drinks and desserts in Indian cuisine. Also, kewra or kewadaa is used in religious worship, and the leaves are used to make hair ornaments worn for their fragrance as well as decorative purpose in western India.

Species with large and medium fruit are edible, notably the many cultivated forms of P. tectorius (P. pulposus). The fruit is eaten raw or cooked. Small-fruited pandanus may be bitter and astringent.

Throughout Oceania, almost every part of the plant is used, with various species different from those used in Southeast Asian cooking. Pandanus trees provide materials for housing; clothing and textiles including the manufacture of dilly bags (carrying bags), fine mats or ‘ie toga; food, medication,[citation needed] decorations, fishing, and religious uses.

Medicinal Uses:
Pandanus leaves and roots are found to have medicinal benefits. Such parts of the plant have been found to have essential oils, tannin, alkaloids and glycosides, which are the reasons for the effective treatment of various health concerns.

Pandanus Health Benefits:
•.Treats leprosy, smallpox and wounds.
• Helps reduce fever
• Solves several skin problems
• Relives headache and arthritis
• Treatment for ear pains
• Functions as a laxative for children
• Eases chest pains
• Helps in speeding up the recuperation of women who have just given birth and are still weak
• Pandan reduces stomach spasms.

Pandan flowers have also been traced with characteristics that function as aphrodisiac.
Pandan also manifests anti-cancer activities,
It can also be used as antiseptic and anti-bacterial, which makes it ideal for healing wounds.

Preparation & Use of Pandan:
Decoction of the bark may be taken as tea, or mixed with water that is to be used in bathing, in order to remedy skin problems, cough, and urine-related concerns.
• Apply pulverized roots of pandan to affected wound areas to facilitate healing.
• The anthers of the male flowers are used for earaches, headaches and stomach spasms.
• Chew the roots to strengthen the gum.
• Extract oils and juices from the roots and flowers are used in preparing the decoction to relieve pains brought about by headache and arthritis.

Other Uses:
Pandan is used for handicrafts. Craftsmen collect the pandan leaves from plants in the wild. Only the young leaves are cut so the plant will naturally regenerate. The young leaves are sliced in fine strips and sorted for further processing. Weavers produce basic pandan mats of standard size or roll the leaves into pandan ropes for other designs. This is followed by a coloring process, in which pandan mats are placed in drums with water-based colors. After drying, the colored mats are shaped into final products, such as place mats or jewelry boxes. Final color touch-ups may be applied.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandanus
http://www2.hawaii.edu/%7Eeherring/hawnprop/pan-tect.htm
http://rullanamador.blogspot.in/2010/01/pandan-pandanus-tectorius.html

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