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Publication #ENH-589

Pandanus utilis: Screw-Pine1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2

Introduction

Creating a striking landscape effect wherever it is used, Screw-Pine has a pyramidal, sometimes irregular, open, but much-branched silhouette, the smooth, stout trunks topped with full, graceful heads of long, thin leaves, three feet long and three inches wide, emerging spirally from stubby branches. It is not a true pine tree. The blue-green foliage color adds to the striking nature of this exotic tree. The leaves are edged with small red spines and are used to make mats and baskets in the tropics. Branches have prominent leaf scars which encircle the stems. Large brace-roots emerge from the trunk several feet above the ground, helping to support the plant. Screw-Pine is capable of reaching 60 feet in height but is not usually seen over 25 feet in USDA hardiness zone 10 and 11, with a spread of 15 feet. Growth rate is slow to moderate, depending upon fertilization and watering schedules, and Screw-Pine is very popular for use as a specimen or container planting.

Figure 1. 

Young Pandanus utilis: Screw-Pine


Credit:

Ed Gilman


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Pandanus utilis
Pronunciation: pan-DAY-nus YOO-tih-liss
Common name(s): Screw-Pine
Family: Pandanaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 10B through 11 (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: reclamation; deck or patio; specimen; container or planter; street without sidewalk; highway median
Availability: not native to North America

Figure 2. 

Range


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: 20 to 30 feet
Spread: 12 to 20 feet
Crown uniformity: irregular
Crown shape: pyramidal
Crown density: open
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: coarse

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: spiral (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: spiny, pectinate
Leaf shape: linear
Leaf venation: parallel
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: 18 to 36 inches
Leaf color: green, blue or blue-green
Fall color: no color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: white/cream/gray
Flower characteristics: not showy

Fruit

Fruit shape: oval, round
Fruit length: 6 to 12 inches
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: yellow, orange
Fruit characteristics: attracts squirrels/mammals; showy; fruit/leaves a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: brown
Current year twig thickness: very thick
Wood specific gravity: unknown

Culture

Light requirement: full sun, partial sun or partial shade
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; extended flooding; well-drained
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: high

Other

Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: no
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: unknown

Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases

Use and Management

Although the male plants possess conspicuous, fragrant flowers, it is the female plant which is preferred for landscape use because of the large, eight to nine-inch, globular fruits which hang from "cords". The fruits are made up of 100 to 200 tightly compressed drupes, similar to those of a pineapple, and change from green to yellow when ripe. There is only a small amount of edible pulp but the fruits are quite showy.

Screw-Pine produces fruit when grown in full sun but young plants may be kept in the shade. Soil should be well-drained and plants kept well-watered. Screw-Pine may be considered messy due to the constant leaf-drop throughout the year.

Veitch Screw-Pine or Ribbon-Plant ( Pandanus veitchii ) has white-banded, spiny leaves, does not fruit, and is often used as a pot plant. Sander Screw-Pine ( Pandanus sanderi ) has denser, more tufted foliage with golden yellow bands from center of leaf to margin.

Propagation is by seed (soaked 24-hours before planting), basal sucker division, or large cuttings.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern but occasionally scales.

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENH-589, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.