screw [skroo] - noun
- something having a spiral form
- a twist, turn, or twisting movement
Note the spiral pattern of the leaves
Although this is marketed locally as "Spiral Palm", the Pandanusutilis is more commonly known as "Screw Pine". It is in fact more closely related to palms and is in no way a pine. It belongs to the same genus as Pandanus amaryllifolius, a plant popularly used in South East Asian cooking to add aroma to rice, curry and dessert like buko pandan (A dessert made up of coconut strips, cream and pandan flavored jelly).
This tropical tree is native to Madagascar and Mauritius. It grows well here in my country as I have seen a few very large plants.
My plant is still young and in no way resembles a tree. As it grows though, it will develop a trunk which is scarred by the old leaves which spiralled around it. Big and numerous roots will emerge from the ground pushing the plant higher. My plant is exposed to direct sun until noon and shaded by the perimeter wall the rest of the day. I water it everyday and feed it with animal manure. It seems happy even if it gets nothing from me but shit.
The dark green leaves are long with tapered tips. The veins are longitudinal and the sides are lined with red hooked spines. The spines are ferocious as these can easily cut through skin. The spines are sharp and tough. I think the leaves can be used as a substitute for bread knife.
The plant is dioecious but my plant has not produced anything to indicate if it is male or female yet. If only identifying plant gender were as easy as performing an obstetric sonogram. I'm excited to see what my plant is because either gender has its own reward. The male plants have a colorful flower which is said to be quite fragrant. The female plants produce an edible fruit which resembles a large pine cone. My plant has no sign of either fruit nor flower. Nothing to see in its center except more screwy leaves.
Don't mess with this plant or you're screwed.