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Pandanus tectorius (5187732979).jpg
Pandanus tectorius
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Pandanales
Family: Pandanaceae

Benstonea Callm. & Buerki
Freycinetia Gaudich.
Martellidendron (Pic.Serm.) Callm. & Chassot
Pandanus Parkinson
Sararanga Hemsl.

Pandanaceae is a family of flowering plants native to the tropics and subtropics of the Old World, from West Africa through the Pacific. It contains over 1000 species[2] in five genera,[3] of which the type genus, Pandanus, is the most important. It is an ancient family dating from the early to mid-Cretaceous.[4]


Pandanaceae includes trees, shrubs, lianas, vines, epiphytes, and perennial herbs.[5] Stems may be simple or bifurcately branched, and may have aerial prop roots. The stems bear prominent leaf scars. The leaves are very long and narrow, sheathing, simple, undivided, with parallel veins; the leaf margins and abaxial midribs are often prickly.[6]

The plants are dioecious. The inflorescences are terminally borne racemes, spikes or umbels, with subtended spathes, which may be brightly colored. The flowers are minute and lack perianths. Male flowers contain numerous stamens with free or fused filaments. Female flowers have a superior ovary, usually of many carpels in a ring, but may be reduced to a row of carpels or a single carpel. Fruits are berries or drupes,[5] usually multiple.[7]

Pandanaceae is prominent in cultural, health, and economic importance in the Pacific, second only to coconut on atolls in Pacific culture and tradition, including local medicine. Hundreds of cultivated varieties, collectively recognized in the Pacific, but specific to numerous independent cultural traditions, are known by their local names and characteristics of fruits, branches, and leaves. They grow wild mainly in seminatural vegetation in littoral habitats throughout the tropical and subtropical Pacific, where they can withstand drought, strong winds, and salt spray. They propagate readily from seed, but are also widely propagated from branch cuttings by local people.[citation needed]


Pandanaceae includes five genera: Benstonea, Freycinetia, Martellidendron, Pandanus, and Sararanga.[3] Benstonea (as subgenus "Acrostigma")[8] and Martellidendron[4] were formerly considered subgenera of Pandanus, but were recognized as distinct genera based on DNA sequencing.[8][4]