Unique Features and Distinct Purpose of Pandanus odoratissimus
For both locals and tourists, Pandanus odoratissimus is a common tree found growing along the beaches of Koh Chang Island. The leaves resemble like sword because they measure like 1 to 2 meters long and between 4 to 7 centimeters in width. This kind of tree species is growing abundantly in sandy soils and is considered helpful to soil stabilization as its root holds firm into the ground.
As an erect, evergreen coarsely branched tree, Pandanus odoratissimus looks like a large branched candlestick holder. This tree species can reach the height of 15 meters high. It is distinctively featured to having a dichotomous branching or in some instances branching out in three or trichotomous irregularly. It is also distinguishable by its numerous prop roots which are thickly originated from the trunk. The exposed stems are usually colored pale buff or grey brown and are grossly ringed by leaf scars. Usually, the stems are hollow. Its sword-like leaves are arranged spirally in three rows at the tips of the branches. In exposed leaves, the midrib is bent or hangs down that gives a drooping appearance to Pandanus odoratissimus. The fruits are variable in shape. They are ovoid, ellipsoid, sub-globose or globose with tightly bunched wedge shaped fleshy drupes which are referred to as keys. When unripe the fruit is green and it turns to orange or red or vermilion when ripe. Each drupe is covered with a pericarp or outer layer. The middle layer (known as mesocarp) is divided into upper and lower. The upper mesocarp comprises the elongated cavern with tissue containing air spaces. The lower mesocarp is fleshy and fibrous – it is the edible portion of the fruit which serves as food during famine and scarcity. The covering of the seed is hard giving the seed the best protective shield.
When it comes to uses, Pandanus odoratissimus is not a timber provider but its hollow stems can be utilized in building resting hut. The leaves when dried up can be used to make soft mats. Its prop roots when flattened can be used as brush to paint boats. As recent studies show many medical uses of this tree species, it simply means that Pandanus odoratissimus has a lot to offer to human health.