From Common Forest Trees of Hawaii

Pandanus tectorius
Pandanus family (Pandanaceae)

Native species (indigenous)

Picturesque tree of coasts and lowlands recognized by the many large prop roots around the short, smooth light gray trunks, by the few widely forking stout branches, ending in a cluster of many crowded, spirally arranged large strap-shaped leaves with saw- edges, and by the resembling a pineapple.

©2003 Forest And Kim Starr
Small tree 10–33 ft (3–10 ) high, the trunk and branches with ring scars from fallen leaves. The straight cylindrical prop roots or stilt roots covered with small spines or prickles support the main trunk and spreading branches. Branches divide regularly into 2 equal widely spreading forks.

Leaves long and very narrow, thick and leathery, about 3 ft (0.9 ) long and 2 inches (5 ) wide or to twice that size, but crowded, with broad clasping base, parallel saw- edges, and many inconspicuous parallel side veins, and ending in a long tapered drooping point. The upper surface is shiny green, the lower surface dull light green with spines along the Dead brown leaves hang down and gradually fall away.

Two kinds of trees are distinguished not only by their flowers but by their trunks. Flowers are male and female on different plants (), small, and without and Male flowers are very numerous in drooping clusters 1–2 ft (0.3–0.6 ) long from the center of a cluster of leaves, and very fragrant. They consist of many 1⁄8–1⁄4 inch (3–6 ) long, crowded on threadlike branching stalks along an axis () with several spiny-edged pale yellow, very fragrant ending in a long, very narrow point. Female flowers in compact greenish heads have densely crowded with colored

The multiple (syncarp) borne singly on a long stalk, is a large hard heavy ball 4–8 inches (10–20 ) in diameter, composed of 40–80 (). Each is 1 1⁄2–2 3⁄4 inches (4.7 ) long and 3⁄8–3⁄4 inch (1–2 ) wide, angled and slightly flattened, shiny pale yellow to orange to red, hard and fibrous, containing usually 5–11 seeds or empty cells. These bright-colored fragrant are scattered by animals that eat the sweetish pulp. The soft orange pulp was also used as food by Hawaiians in times of famine. The old dried are spongy and probably float to other islands.

Trunks of male trees are hard and solid throughout and have wood that is yellow with dark brown fiber bundles, very strong, but brash when subjected to a sudden load and difficult to split. Those of female trees are very hard in the outer part, but soft and fibrous or juicy within. Elsewhere, trunks of female trees have served as water pipes after removal of the pith.

Hawaiians utilized most portions of the plant for various purposes. The leaves (lau) served as thatch in houses and were plaited into baskets and mats, or floor coverings. A roof of lauhala leaves is said to last about 15 years in low rainfall coastal areas while one of coconut leaves will last only 3 years. Finely divided lauhala is used to make hats. The dry weeds with fibrous ends were employed as brushes in dying bark cloth. Parts of the were sliced into pieces that were strung into leis or garlands with leaves of other plants intertwined.

Hala is common through the Hawaiian Islands in lowlands, especially windward sides along coasts and from sea level to 2000 ft (610 ).

Special areas
Keahua, Waimea Arboretum, Foster, Volcanoes.

Height 35 ft (10.7 ), c.b.h. 4.5 ft (13.7 ), spread 40 ft (12.2 ). Keaau, Hilo, Hawaii (1968).

Through the Hawaiian Islands and southwestward in the South Pacific Islands to northern Australia, New Guinea, west to Philippine Islands, Moluccas, and Java.

This is the only species of Pandanus native in Hawaii, according to a conservative classification. It was formerly united under P. odoratissimus L. f. of the South Pacific region.

Other common names
screwpine, puhala, lauhala, pandanus; kafu (Guam, N. Marianas); ongor (Palau); fach (Yap); fach (Truk); kipar (Pohnpei); moen (Kosrae); bop (Marshalls); fala (Am. Samoa)

Also, color varieties: hala (yellow), hala’ula (orange), hala lihilihi’ula (red yellowish below), halapia (pale yellow).

The name screw-pine is suggested by the leaves arranged spirally like a screw and by the ball-like similar to a pine cone.

Several species have been introduced as ornamentals, illustrating white-bordered or striped leaves, short leaves, and large

An evergreen tree retains a large portion of its green leaves all year.

stamen -- the pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower; The stamen consists of an anther supported by a filament.

corolla -- The name for all the petals of a flower taken together.

Irregular flowers, such as those of the violet or the pea, are often bilaterally symmeteric. These flowers typically have petals of unequal size or shape.

cm -- A centimeter which is about 0.4 inches.

midrib -- The central and most prominent vein of a leaf or leaf-like thing.

A simple leaf blade is one that is not divided into separate leaflets.

alternate -- leaves alternate along the main stem and are attached singly.

calyx -- the sepals of a flower, typically forming a whorl that encloses the petals and forms a protective layer around a flower in bud.

m -- A meter is about 10% larger than a yard.

Bracts are modified leaves associated with a flower.

terminal -- Located at the end (the tip or the apex).

mm -- millimeter. About 1/25th of an inch.

Like the teeth on a saw, leaves and other surfaces can have toothed edges.

fruit -- any seed-bearing structure in flowering plants. It is formed from the ovary after flowering.

A pistil is the female structure of many flowers. It contains one or more carpels. Each carpel contins an ovary, style and stigma. The stigma receives the pollen which grows thru the style to reach the ovary.

drupe -- A fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a hardened shell containing a seed. A peach is a drupe. A raspberry is composed of drupelets.

A raceme is an unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing flowers having short floral stalks along its axis.

dioecious -- When male and female reproductive structures are on separate plants.

scale -- A very small leaf around a dormant bud. Also other things that might remind one of fish scales on the surface of ferns, stems and the like.