Pandanus odorifer (Forssk.) Kuntze

Last updated: 17 Oct 2016

Scientific Name

Pandanus odorifer (Forssk.) Kuntze


Athrodactylis spinosa J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. [Illegitimate], Bromelia sylvestris Burm.f., Eydouxia delessertii Gaudich., Hasskarlia leucacantha Walp., Keura odora Thunb., Keura odorifera Forssk., Marquartia leucacantha Hassk., Pandanus adduensis H.St.John, Pandanus albibracteatus H.St.John, Pandanus alloios H.St.John, Pandanus ambiglaucus H.St.John, Pandanus blancoi Kunth, Pandanus boryi Gaudich., Pandanus carnosus H.St.John, Pandanus chelyon H.St.John, Pandanus delessertii (Gaudich.) Warb., Pandanus fascicularis Lam., Pandanus fosbergii H.St.John, Pandanus globosus H.St.John, Pandanus hartmanii H.St.John, Pandanus hendersonii H.St.John, Pandanus hueensis H.St.John, Pandanus impar H.St.John, Pandanus inclinatus H.St.John, Pandanus incrassatus H.St.John, Pandanus integriapicis H.St.John, Pandanus intraconicus H.St.John, Pandanus karikayo H.St.John, Pandanus leucanthus Hassk., Pandanus linnaei Gaudich., Pandanus linnaei f. philippinensis Martelli, Pandanus littoralis Jungh., Pandanus loureiroi Gaudich., Pandanus maldi vecus H.St.John, Pandanus millore Roxb., Pandanus obtusus H.St.John, Pandanus odoratissimus L.f., Pandanus odoratissimus var. borneensis (Martelli) B.C.Stone, Pandanus odoratissimus var. hueensis (H.St.John) B.C.Stone, Pandanus odoratissimus var. loureiroi (Gaudich.) Martelli, Pandanus odoratissimus var. sarawakensis (Martelli) B.C.Stone, Pandanus odoratissimus var. sinensis (Warb.) Kaneh., Pandanus odoratissimus var. triceps B.C.Stone, Pandanus odoratissimus f. vietnamensis (H.St.John) B.C.Stone, Pandanus odoratus Salisb., Pandanus phamhoangii H.St.John, Pandanus projectens H.St.John, Pandanus remotus H.St.John, Pandanus reversispiralis H.St.John, Pandanus rheedei Gaudich., Pandanus rubricoloratus H.St.John, Pandanus rumphii Gaudich., Pandanus semiorbicularis H.St.John, Pandanus sinensis (Warb.) Martelli, Pandanus smitinandii H.St.John, Pandanus spiralis Blanco [Illegitimate], Pandanus subcarnosus H.St.John, Pandanus subcubicus H.St.John, Pandanus subulatus H.St.John, Pandanus tectorius var. borneensis Martelli, Pandanus tectorius var. littoralis (Jungh.) Martelli, Pandanus tectorius var. liukiuensis Warb., Pandanus tectorius var. loureiroi (Gaudich.) Martelli, Pandanus tectorius var. sarawakensis Martelli, Pandanus tectorius var. sinensis Warb., Pandanus tectorius var. utinensis Masam., Pandanus verus Rumph. ex Kurz [Illegitimate], Pandanus vietnamensis H.St.John. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Mengkuang laut, mengkuang duri, mengkuang layer, pandan laut, pandan darat, pandan todak, pandan berdahan, pandan duri, pandan wangi, pandan podak, pandan pudak [2]
English Sea screw-pine, thorny screw-pine, sea pandan, shore pandan, sword fish pandan, thorny pandan, fragrant pandan [2]
Indonesia Pandan pudak, pandan pudak duri, pandan pudak emprit, pandan samak laut [2]
Thailand Lamchiek [2]; kaaraket, toei thale, lam chiak [3]
Laos (Do:k) ke:d [3]
Philippines Sabotan, sibutan, parauan [3]
Cambodia Rumche:k [3]
Vietnam Gi[uw]ra (d[uwr]a) d[aj]I [3].

Geographical Distributions

Pandanus odorifer is widely distributed on the Indo-Malaysian coasts from India and Sri Lanka throughout Southeast Asia to Taiwan, the Ryukyu Islands and Micronesia. It is the predominant wild Pandanus of the sandy coasts in Malaysia, but it is also often cultivated inland. [3]

Botanical Description

P. odorifer is a member of the family Pandanaceae. It is a coarsely branched tree. It can grow up to 12-14 m tall with open crown. The trunk is erect or more or less decumbent, and measures up to 20 cm in diameter. It is grey, and with prop roots near the base. [3]

The adult leaves are usually 20-30 times longer than wide, and measure up to 3 m x 9 cm. The margins and dorsal midrib are armed with usually forwardly directed, very sharp prickles that are 5-10 mm long. The apex is gradually narrowed to an elongated flagella. The youngest leaves are erect with the older ones droop from the midpoint. They are glaucous, and with 40-160 parallel veins but not prominent. [3]

The male inflorescence is 30-60 cm long and usually with 5-11 spikes, which are 5-10 cm long. The bracts are less than 30 cm long. The phalanges are 10-15 mm long, bearing 19-26 sta­mens with filaments 0.5-2 mm. The anthers are 2-3.5 mm long and with pointed apex 0.5 mm long. The female inflorescence is usually with one single head on a peduncle 10-30 cm long. The bracts are sub­fleshy, navicular and with prickly midrib and mar­gins. The head is spherical to ellipsoid, measuring 15-20(-30) cm x 12-18(-20) cm and it contains (26-)50-70(-143) car­pellate phalanges (and each cluster is pentagonal or hexagonal). The phalanges measure 3-8 cm x 2-5 cm and are com­posed of 4-10 concentrically arranged and fused carpels. The stigma is U-shaped or V-shaped. [3]

The aggregated fruit is orange-red while the carpel clusters are free from each other but tightly crowded, whereas the endocarp is red-brown. [3]

The seed is spindle-shaped to obovoid, measures 10-12 mm long, and with white and soft endosperm. [3]


P. odorifer is found on sandy beaches, in littoral thickets, on the edges of brackish marshes and mangroves, and inland along watercourses at low altitudes. Rainfall should be high. It can grow on a wide range of soils, but heavy, poorly drained loams are not suitable. [3]

Chemical Constituent

P. odorifer have been reported to contain 2-phenyl ethyl alcohol; 2-phenyl ethyl methyl ether, terpinen-4-ol, 3-hydroxy-2-isopropenyl-dihydrobenzofuran-5-carboxylic acid methyl ester, 3-methyl-3-buten-1-yl acetate, 3-methyl-3-buten-1-yl cinnamate, 3-methyl-2-buten-1-yl acetate, 3-methyl-2-buten-1-yl cinnamate, 3,4-bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl) tetrahydrofuran, 4-hydroxy-3-(2′,3′-dihydroxy-3′-methylbutyl)-benzoic acid methyl ester, 24,24-dimethyl-5 beta-tirucall-9, 25-dien-3-one, α-terpineol, β-carotene, β-sitosterol, benzyl benzoate, pinoresinol, germacrene B, stigmasterol, viridine, and vitamin C. [4][5][6]

Plant Part Used

Roots and leaves. [7][8]

Traditional Use

In the Marshall Islands, this plant is used for a number of conditions related to the female reproductive organs. In the immediate period after delivery, the mother is given a concoction of juice from the aerial root together with green coconut water. For abnormal menstrual bleeding 500ml of the juice squeezed from the aerial roots is given to the woman to drink while abnormal vaginal bleeding is treated by applying the pulverized thorny bumps together with white rock ash on a sanitary napkin and worn over the perineum. [8]

In infants with jaundice, restlessness and colic, the juice squeezed from the aerial roots together with Centella asiatica is given to the infant in a dose of one teaspoon and then the rest is rub over the whole body of the infant [8]. For oral thrush the juice of the soft part of the aerial root is squeezed into the child’s mouth [8]. In Palau Island, a drink prepared from the root alleviates stomachache while the leaves can help relieve vomiting. In Kiribati decoction of the root is a remedy for haemorrhoids [7]. Water distilled from the flowering tops is considered an antispasmodic while at the same time helps in relieve of faintness and giddiness. [9]

The oil extracted from the flowering tops of P. odorifer is used to treat earaches and otorrhoea [9]. The leaves are remedy for cold/flu, asthma, boils and cancer in Kiribati. In the Marshall Islands the male flower is believed to have aphrodisiac properties [7].

Preclinical Data


Antioxidant activity

Two phenolic compounds isolated from the root parts of P. odorifer were identified as pinoresinol and 3,4-bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl)tetrahydrofuran. They showed strong antioxidative activities. A recent study done by Londonkar and Kamble, showed that the methanol extract of the leaves exhibits antioxidant activity evidenced by an 88% reduction of DPPH and 74% inhibition of nitric acid [10]; there was also inhibition of superoxide radicals [5].


No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of P. odorifer [3]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Pandanus odorifer (Forssk.) Kuntze. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Oct 17]. Available from:
  2. Burkill IH. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Volume 2. London: Published on behalf of the governments of the Straits settlements and Federated Malay states by the Crown agents for the colonies, 1935;p. 1650
  3. Brink M, Escobin RP, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 17: Fibre plants. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers; 2003.
  4. Vahirua-Lechat I, Menut C, Roig B, Bessiere JM, Lamaty G. Isoprene related esters, significant components of Pandanus tectorius. Phytochem. 1996;43(6):1277-1279.
  5. Jong TT, Chau SW. Antioxidative activities of constituents isolated from Pandanus odoratissimus. Phytochem. 1998;49(7):2145-2148.
  6. Raina VK, Kumar A, Srivastava SK, Syamsundar KV, Kahol AP. Essential oil composition of ‘kewda’(Pandanus odoratissimus) from India. Flavour Frag J. 2004;19(5):434-436.
  7. Elevitch CR, editor. Traditional trees of Pacific Islands: Their culture, environment, and use. Holualoa, Hawaii: Permanent Agriculture Resources, 2006; p. 565–566.
  8. Taafaki IJ, Fowler MK, Thaman RR. Traditional medicine of the Marshall Islands: the women, the plants, the treatments. Suva, Fiji: IPS Publication, 2006; p. 79-81.
  9. Leyel CF. Compassionate herbs. London: Faber and Faber, 1947; p. 157.
  10. Londonkar R, Kamble A. Evaluation of free radical scavenging activity of Pandanus odoratissimus. Int J Pharmacol. 2009:5;377-380.