(Pandanus tectorius)



The fruit grows in a large, oval head or bunch that hangs. Single fruits or fingers that have separated can easily be pulled off the bunch when the color is a bright orange, or orange-red color and has a sweet characteristic aroma (Malolo et al., 2001; Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 2006).


Ripe pandanus is best eaten once picked as individual fingers do not keep well. The fruits can be stored in baskets and hung near a cooking area to be preserved by the heat and smoke (Malolo et al., 2001). They can be refrigerated or be preserved by different techniques. The most common preservation method is to create a dried paste by squeezing the thick pulp of ripe fruit. This paste will keep for many years without refrigeration (Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 2006).


  • Wash fruit before use.
  • Soft fingers are eaten raw, while tougher varieties are boiled or baked.
  • The juicy pulp can be extracted and cooked orpreserved as a paste.
  • Pandanus paste can be dried in the sun aftercooking and mixes well with coconut cream.
  • Fresh juice from the seeds or nuts of the fruit canbe sucked when ripe or cooked by opening thefruit with a strong knife.
  • Wash the seeds before cooking, preferably insea water, to remove some of the oxalates thatcan cause itchiness.
  • (Malolo et al., 2001; Secretariat of the PacificCommunity, 2006).

Photo Source

J. Hollyer


The pandanus is a unique, traditional food of theatolls and grows well on sandy soils along the coast of many Pacific Islands (Malolo et al., 2001). It is also known as the ‘divine tree’ in the Marshall Islands, because of its important role in everyday life, and is considered a staple food in the Federated States of Micronesia (Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 2006). There are different varieties of pandanus that are characterized by their appearance and the size, shape and colors of the fruit, but only some have edible fruits and nuts (Malolo et al., 2001). It is nicknamed the ‘dental floss fruit’ for its fibrous end that is sucked or chewed (Malolo et al., 2001).

Traditional Names
  • Chamorro – aka’on; pahong; kafu
  • Hawaiian – hala
  • Kosraean – mweng
  • Marshallese – bop
  • Palauan – kalngebard; ongor
  • Pohnpeian – kipar; depiw
  • Yapese – faashe