Keya or Fragrant screw-pine, Pandanus odorifer

Keya or Fragrant screw-pine (Pandanus odorifer, family: Pandanaceae) is a robust and erect shrub or small-sized tree, branching from different spots of the stem, found throughout the coastal regions of South and Southeast Asia, Australia and Polynesia. In Bangladesh this bushy and spiny plant can be seen in the sandy sea-shores and canal-side areas of Bangladesh. It is found abundantly in St. Martin's Island. Nowadays the palm-like tree is cultivated in different spots of Chattogram. The tree can attain a height of 4-5 m. 

The trunk of the tree is supported by brace roots. Trunk is slender and brown with many rounded scars and thick spines. The stem and branches are quite creepy looking, though the drooping leaves are eye-catching indeed. The flowers are strong-scented and the fruits are quite interesting to look at. Wood is very soft inside and quite hard outside. 

Other names: Keya kanta, Kewra (Bangla), Keya kathal, Keteki phul (Assamese), Ketaki (Sans), Large screw pine, Screw tree, Kewda, Umbrella tree, Fragrant screwpine. 

Leaves are spiny, gigantic, thick, coriaceous, glaucus green, acuminate at the apex, 80-100 cm long and 6-8 cm wide; large and stout incurved spines in the margin. Interestingly there are much more incurved spines in the midrib of the leaves beneath. Flowering time May-October. 

 Flowers are in spadix inflorescence. Male spadix with numerous cylindrical spikes. Male inflorescence is white-colored, spathes are white too. Flowers are very sweet-scented and huge in size. Female spadix solitary, enclosed in yellow spathes. 

Fruits are large and very interesting. It can give you a mixture of feeling look of Jackfruit and Pineapple. These are large syncarpium, orange-yellow or scarlet when ripe, globose-oblong, 15-26 cm long and drupes 5-8 cm, single-seeded. Mature fruits can be seen till winter in Bangladesh.  

The gregarious and much-branched tree is used as living fence around houses and crop fields. The fibre that comes from the leaves are used for making brushes, nets. Pulp of the fruits are edible and is sometimes eaten by folks somewhere. The flowers can give a powerful perfumes even when dried! 

Fragrant screw-pine is propagated by cutting of young stem and root sucker. It can be propagated by seeds too. 

Synonyms: Athrodactylis spinosa, Bromelia sylvestris, Eydouxia delessertii, Hasskarlia leucacantha, Keura odora, Keura odorifera, Marquartia leucacantha, Pandanus adduensis, Pandanus albibracteatus, Pandanus alloios, Pandanus ambiglaucus, Pandanus blancoi, Pandanus boryi, Pandanus carnosus, Pandanus chelyon, Pandanus delessertii, Pandanus fascicularis, Pandanus fosbergii, Pandanus globosus, Pandanus hartmanii, Pandanus hendersonii, Pandanus hueensis, Pandanus impar, Pandanus inclinatus, Pandanus incrassatus, Pandanus integriapicis, Pandanus intraconicus, Pandanus karikayo, Pandanus leucanthus, Pandanus linnaei, Pandanus littoralis, Pandanus loureiroi, Pandanus maldivecus, Pandanus millore, Pandanus obtusus, Pandanus odoratissimus, Pandanus odoratus, Pandanus odoriferus, Pandanus phamhoangii, Pandanus projectens, Pandanus remotus, Pandanus reversispiralis, Pandanus rheedei, Pandanus rubricoloratus, Pandanus rumphii, Pandanus semiorbicularis, Pandanus sinensis, Pandanus smitinandii, Pandanus spiralis, Pandanus subcarnosus, Pandanus subcubicus, Pandanus subulatus, Pandanus verus, Pandanus vietnamensis.


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