Pandanus (P. tectorius) is a large shrub or small tree of immense cultural, health, and economic importance in the Pacific, second only to coconut on atolls. A highly variable species complex, it grows wild mainly in semi-natural vegetation in littoral habitats throughout the tropical and subtropical Pacific, where it can withstand drought, strong winds, and salt spray.
- Distribution: Native through the Pacific islands and parts of Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
- Size: Reaches 4-14m (13-46ft) in height, with about the same canopy diameter.
- Habitat: Usually elevations of sea level to 20m (66ft), but can grow at elevations of 600m (1970ft) or higher.
- Vegetation: Associated with species of coastal forest.
- Soil: Adapted to a very wide range of light to heavy soil types.
- Growth rate: Stem growth is slow to moderate, 2 – 80cm (0.8 – 31in) per years
- Main agroforestry uses: Coastal protection, windbreak, home gardens.
- Main uses: Food, weaving, thatch.
- Yields: 10-300 leaves per tree per year or 9 – 12 fruits.
- Inter cropping: Often planted in and around mixed agroforest in the Pacific.
- Invasive potential: Naturally spreads into coastal plant communities. Since it is native to Pacific island, the tree is not considered to be invasive.
Pandanus trees are under threat from a tiny pest in Queensland.
This pest has been in pandanus palms for decades, however, the specialists have seen leaf hopper (Jamella australiae) increasing in numbers in recent years. It has been acting on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast where dead and dying palms have been pruned and even cut down to protect public safety.