Pandan Wangi

PANDAN WANGI

Botanical Names

Pandanus odorus

Common Names

Malaysia Pandan wangi, pandan rampai.
English Fragrant screwpine.

Family

Pandanaceae

Introduction

The fragrant screwpine or locally known as ‘pandan wangi’ or ‘pandan rampai’ is a perennial plant. It is easy to grow and manage. It is believed that the ‘pandan wangi’ originated from Bangka, Indonesia, but is widely distributed in the tropical areas of Southeast Asia. Although this plant has existed for centuries in Malaysia, it is now mainly grown in the kitchen garden.[1]

1_Pandan
Fully grown ‘pandan wangi’ on peat soil

Morphological Features

The ‘pandan wangi’ grows in clumps and has long leaves tapering at the ends. The plant has never been reported to flower. There are two types of ‘pandan wangi’, the big and small type. Most of the ‘pandan wangi’ planted in this country are the small type. It grows to a height of 0.75-1.50 m. The length of the leaf is between 55 cm and 75 cm and the width at its widest position is 4-5 cm. The big ‘pandan wangi’ can grow to a height of 3.7-4.3 m, leaf length approximately 2.3 m and leaf width approximately 9 cm.[1]

Medicinal Properties and Usage

‘Pandan wangi’ has several uses in the preparation of traditional dishes especially among the Malays in this country. It is used as colouring and flavouring agents, and an appetizer. Nowadays, its extract is used by manufacturers of bread, cakes, and biscuits as a natural ‘pandan’ colouring and flavouring agents. ‘Pandan wangi’ is believed to have medicinal properties too. Among others, it is said to be a cure for measles, gonorrhoea, syphilis, dengue and anaemia.[1]

Soil Suitability and Climatic Requirement

The plant can be planted in various soil types. This includes problem soils like peat and sandy bris soil. It is suitable for soil with high moisture content. However, it can withstand long droughts up to 1-2 months. Total annual rainfall of 200–300 cm and tropical conditions with temperature range of 18–28ºC is ideal for its growth.[1]

Field Preparation

Land Preparation

For planting on virgin land, the land should be thoroughly cleared before a suitable drainage system is constructed. Ploughing is done to loosen the soil and control weed. Spraying with a systemic weedicide like glyphosate two weeks later will reduce weed competition at the early stage of growth. For soils with low pH (pH 4-5), liming with Ground Magnesium Limestone (GML) by broadcasting at the rate of 5 t/ha before ploughing is recommended.[1]

Production of Planting Materials

Suckers measuring 15-20 cm are used as planting material. Each sucker should have roots at least 1-2 cm long, or with some tissue from the main plant at the base of the sucker. To obtain many suckers at one time, the main plant is pruned to a height of 20-30 cm and left to grow again for two months. A few leaves at the base of the suckers are removed for easy planting. Approximately 25% of the leaves are pruned from the tip to reduce moisture loss through transpiration. It is recommended that the suckers are first planted in polybags before field planting. This process will encourage root growth.[1]

2_Pandan
The ‘pandan wangi’ seedlings ready for field planting

Field Planting

The planting distance recommended is 1.0 m between rows and 1.5 m within a row, for six rows of planting. This planting distance is followed by a 3.0 m space for field transportation of inputs and harvests. This will result in a planting density of 5,000 plants/ha. The planting hole is about 25 cm x 25 cm x 25 cm. Planting is done at the beginning of rainy season since the early stage of growth in the field needs sufficient water supply.[1]

3untitled
Manual weeding by using ‘cangkul’

Field Maintenance

Fertilisation

Super phosphate fertiliser or Christmas Island Rock Phosphate (CIRP) at the rate of 0.5 t/ha (100 g/hole) is used as the basal dressing. Compound fertiliser NPK (15:15:15) at the rate of 0.5 t/ha is applied as the side dressing at every harvest. Before the main harvest, fertiliser at the rate of 0.1 kg per plant is applied four times that is in the 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th month after planting. On the other hand, for the ratoon crop, fertiliser application is split into three and applied in the 1st, 4th and 7th month after the last harvest. Liming is done at the rate of 5.0 t/ha twice after each harvest. The lime is broadcasted in between rows in the 4th and 10th month for the main harvest. For the ratoon crop, liming is done in the 3rd and 6th month after the last harvest. The above fertiliser recommendations are based on the crop production on peat soil.[1]

4untitled
Application of compound fertiliser for the ratoon crops

Weed Control

Ploughing and spraying of weedicide during field preparation help to reduce weed population at the early stage of plant growth. Weed control in the first 6 months after planting is done manually using a hoe. If necessary, it is done once every 2 months. After that, weeds are controlled by spraying systemic weedicide such as glyphosate, alternating with contact weedicide such as paraquat. Spraying is done every 2-3 months depending on weed population. The weed problem will be reduced when the plants start to get bushy and suckers start to develop and grow.[1]

Water Management

The plant is more suitable for wet areas. For areas with high annual rainfall throughout the year, additional irrigation system is not needed. For crops in areas with prolonged drought, a sprinkler system is used to ensure optimum plant growth during the dry season.[1]

Pest and Disease Control

‘Pandan wangi’ does not have severe disease or pest problems. Because of that, scheduled spraying of the crop is not necessary. Application of chemical pesticides and fungicides is not recommended to maintain product quality.[1]

Harvesting

The main crop is harvested about 12 months after field planting. Harvesting can then be done at 8 month intervals after the first harvest. The harvesting time is indicated by the presence of a few leaves that begin to turn yellow and dry at the base of the plant. The plant is harvested by cutting the stem approximately 20-30 cm from the ground. The potential fresh weight yield for ‘pandan wangi’ grown on peat soil for the main, 1st, 2nd and 3rd ratoon harvests are 24.5, 43.0, 34.5 and 27.5 t/ha respectively.[1]

5_Pandan
Harvesting of ‘pandan wangi’ leaves for fresh market

Postharvest Handling

The yellow and dried leaves at the base of the plant are removed by cutting the base of the stem before packing for market.[1]

Estimated Cost Of Production

Based on a three-year operation with 4 harvests, the total production cost per hectare for peat soil are approximately RM20,800, RM7,200, RM6,700 and RM6,300 for the main, 1st ratoon, 2nd ratoon and 3rd ratoon harvests. The average production cost per year is RM13,660. The nett production cost of ‘pandan wangi’ is RM0.40/kg. The production cost was estimated based on the cost of current inputs during writing of this article.[1]

References

  1. Muhamad Ghawas, M. 2005. Pandan wangi (Pandanus odorus). In: Penanaman tumbuhan ubatan & beraroma. (Musa Y., Muhammad Ghawas, M. and Mansor, P., ed.). pp 63-69, Serdang: MARDI
  2. Anon. 2002. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia (Vol. 2) Pg 195, Kuala Lumpur : HMRC-IMR
  3. Kamarudin Mat-Salleh and Latiff, A. (editor). 2002. Tumbuhan Ubatan Malaysia. Pg.  607, Kuala Lumpur : UKM
  4. Musa, Y. Azimah, K. and Zaharah, H. 2009.  Tumbuhan Ubatan Popular Malaysia.  Pg 76, Serdang : MARDI
  5. Muhamad Ghawas, M. 2005. Prestasi awal pengeluaran pandan wangi di tanah gambut. Bul. Teknol. Tanaman. MARDI 1:37-40.
  6. Zainal Abidin, H., Muhamad Ghawas, M. and Mansor, P. 2003. Turning pegaga (Centella asiatica) and pandan wangi (Pandanus odorus) into cash. Paper presented at Asia Pacific Natural Products Expo and Conference, 10-12 April 2003. PWTC, Kuala Lumpur. Organiser: MIGHT.