Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Not A Pine

There is some kind of weather disturbance and it is raining out there in Miami. I hate this weather! And they forecast this entire week is going to be wet! Good for the mosquitoes! So... let's talk about something tropical, like a screwpine. Native to Madagascar, the common screwpine (Pandanus utilis) is, despite its name, a tropical tree and not a pine. It grows well in Miami. P. utilis is dioecious, meaning male and female trees are distinct. The male plants produce fragrant colorful flowers in long spikes, and the female plants bear fruits like the one in this photo. The fruits resemble pineapples or ovesized pine cones changing from green to yellow/orange when ripe. They form a starchy food and can be eaten after cooked. In coastal areas, screwpine is used for erosion control due to its numerous aerial roots that it grows for support instead of growing a large trunk. In areas like Madagascar, Réunion and Mauritius, the leaves are used to make ropes, baskets, mats, hats, place mats, nets, thatched roofs for homes and even paper. The waxy covering over the leaves makes them especially attractive for baskets and roofs with their natural water-resistant surface. Water-resistant... that's what I need for this week! Ok Rong

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