Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Pandanus aquaticus

The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney - May

Common name water pandan, river pandanus
Scientific name Pandanus aquaticus F. Muell
Family  Pandanaceae

Genus: Pandanus - a Latinised version of pandan - a Malayan name.

Species: aquaticus - growing in or near water.

Distribution Widely distributed in tropical Australia, north-western Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Native habitat Grows in shallow water and along margins of watercourses.

5-7 m tall x 2-4 m wide. Grows usually in clumps. Prop roots may or may not be present. Leaves 100-140 cm x 5-6 cm, narrowly strap shaped, dark green, erect to pendulous, midrib and margins prickly except near the apex. Male inflorescence branched, 20-30 cm long with whitish bracts. Male flowers cream to yellow.

Female inflorescence unbranched, subtended by numerous whitish bracts. Fruiting head drooping, 15-18 cm across, globular, ripening yellowish; drupes separate, fleshy when ripe, 2.5-4.4cm long. Seeds 0.6-0.7 cm long.

Flowering/fruiting June-July. Fruit ripens December-May.

Location in Garden

Bed 8d and bed 65g. Click here for map of garden beds & grid.


Even though Pandanus aquaticus naturally occurs in tropical Australia, it grows well here in the Sydney Gardens alongside the waterlily ponds in a sheltered position. Aboriginal people used the prop roots to make paint brushes and the leaves for weaving and basket making. The seeds of all Pandanus species are edible and were an important food source for Aboriginal tribes. An important plant for stream bank

Makes an interesting container plant and grows reasonably well in a bright indoor

A beautiful shaped plant in horticulture. Needs full sun and is intolerant of cold.
Propagate from fresh seed.

Not known to be weedy.

Not available from the Growing Friends. 

Pandanus aquaticus