Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pandanus aquaticus - River Pandan

From Pandanus aquaticus
Location in Park - Botanic Garden, Kimberly section, interspersed with young Boabs
Habitat- Kimberly, coastal areas, anywhere that Mangroves would grow
Sources - Florabase, Gondwananet

We have several Pandans in the park, all located in the Kimberly Section of the Botanical Garden very near one another.  You will notice the first one just as you enter the Kimberly section coming from the VIC toward the Big Boab.  It is trimmed higher than the rest and you can clearly see the trunk and the prop roots emerging from the ground.  These roots help take up oxygen when the trunk is partially submerged in its natural habitat, and they also support the weight of the tree in the soft shifty soil where it normally grows.

Years ago, according to documents found by B. Mowe, we had one P. tectorius (Screw Pine) located in that same area, but it is no longer to be found.  The fact that it used to be there has caused some confusion amongst guides, but there is a well hidden sign that dates back to at least 2007 labeling the remaining plants as P. aquaticus aka River Pandan or Water Pandan.

From Pandanus aquaticus
Two of our Pandans are fruiting and they are located across the concrete path going down hill before you get to the Spinifex, Verticordia and the Big Boab..  The fruits are very large and currently green, but they turn bright red as they ripen.  While the fruit of P. tectorius and some other species are edible, the, P. aquaticus fruit is not.  In the edible species, aboriginals used the fruit for food and medicine, the leaves for clothing and fishing.  Bats, crabs and rats also eat the fruit.

One other plant near the main walkway in the Kimberly section of the garden has just finished flowering and you can still see the remnants of the creme colored flower fading with age.

From Pandanus aquaticus
Pandans are primitive, having  Male and Female sexes in separate plants.

This article may be incomplete.  Please contribute to this article by e-mailing the author if you have interesting information regarding Pandanus aquaticus.

M. Taylor

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