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Tropical Zone Gardening: Giant Pandanus, PNG

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tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 24, 2009
1:36 AM

Post #6589137

One of many impressive ... no, mind-blowing ... plants I saw in Papua New Guinea. Haven't been able to find out its name yet. Found a list of over 1,200 pandanus species, it's obviously one of them. Didn't have the patience to go through them one at a time to check.

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tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 24, 2009
1:39 AM

Post #6589153

They have massive stilt roots which emerge from the bottom of the trunk. Never saw any with branching trunks, except at the very top.

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tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 24, 2009
1:47 AM

Post #6589175

They seem to only inhabit the higher parts of the Owen Stanley Ranges. These were in the Mount Bellamy area around 2,200 metre altitude. Never took that great a note of their range in altitude, but possibly not below 1,500 metres.

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tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 24, 2009
1:52 AM

Post #6589194

If you look closely, you can see the person in the middle of the photo near the left side stilt root of the furthest pandanus. It was like walking through a giant's garden.

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tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 24, 2009
4:03 AM

Post #6589805

In the "cloud forest" environment the trunks and stilt roots get covered in mosses, ferns, climbing aroids and orchids.

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Mvule
Arua
Uganda
(Zone 11)

May 24, 2009
11:37 AM

Post #6590308

WOW!! Amazing, I want one!!.. or five! Did you transplant one? :-)

At least some seeds?
Dutchlady1
Naples, FL
(Zone 10a)

May 24, 2009
12:22 PM

Post #6590380

That is quite incredible; thanks for showing!!
extranjera
Mérida, Yucatán
Mexico
(Zone 11)

May 24, 2009
3:56 PM

Post #6591046

Breathtaking! It really does look like a giant's garden. The size of the person compared to those stilts is unreal. Thanks so much for sharing these.
Braveheartsmom
Hillsborough , NC
(Zone 7a)

May 24, 2009
4:07 PM

Post #6591080

Wow! The size of the person really does help see how very huge those stilt roots are! Great photos, thanks for sharing.
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 25, 2009
8:58 AM

Post #6593890

Mvule, "transplant"????? You'd need one of those huge building construction cranes! Never saw any seeds around (pandanus seeds are readily recognisable), and it was too high up in the canopy to see if any were up there. But I'm afraid for them you'd need a higher altitude than Arua's, plus virtually a continual wet season. Maybe you'll have to settle for something like a Pandanus tectorius.

It was breathtaking for sure. Most of the time I wasn't sure if it was the steep mountain climbs in the steamy hot jungle or the scenery that was taking my breath away ;O)
Mvule
Arua
Uganda
(Zone 11)

May 26, 2009
3:40 AM

Post #6598280

I guess, but you have to dream!
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 26, 2009
4:50 AM

Post #6598579

Although my garden is big, it's still a long way behind my dreams. But I continue to cultivate both.
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 26, 2009
5:42 AM

Post #6598664

The closest I can come to for an ID of this plant is Pandanus brosimos. Anyone agree/disagree, or have any better suggestions?

"Pandanus brosimos Merr. & L.M. Perry

Tree to 25 m tall, bole 8 m; proproots slender, to 1 m. not spreading; leaves to 350 x 18 cm, erect unbent; ...

Forest, semicultivated; from 1,800 to 3,300 m, more usually 2,400 to 3,100 m."

A sketch map showed its distribution along the 'spinal mountainous ridge' running through New Guinea.
Bignonia
Atenas
Costa Rica

May 27, 2009
12:21 AM

Post #6601858

In the Marshall Islands there are plenty Pandanus. But this one is so particular, thanks for the pictures. Did you check for some fruits of this amazing Pandanus? Do the people use the fruits of it for the same purpose that the people in Micronesian do?
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 27, 2009
6:46 AM

Post #6603242

When I was trying to identify this particular one I found out there were 1223 species of Pandanus. We have 4 here locally, one of which is endemic to a small part of our area. In the rest of the country there are lots more, but don't know the exact number. In PNG there are hundreds.

Never found out much about the giant pandanus specifically, but I noticed that (in PNG) pandanus leaves are used as thatching for houses in the villages. Some species the nuts are eaten. Local species seem to be used a lot around the world for similar purposed.
Alistair
Nowra, NSW,
Australia
(Zone 9b)

May 27, 2009
7:35 AM

Post #6603282

It looks to be a Karuka Nut either P. brosimos as you say, or P. julianettii. I can't remember how to tell them apart!

The taxonomy of Pandanus is generally rather a mess, but Mathew Jebb at Dublin Bot Gard has done a field guide to the New Guinea ones. Maybe a copy in the Darwin herbarium library????

Edited to add: did you eat any? The nuts are really delicious roasted!!!


This message was edited May 27, 2009 6:56 PM
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 27, 2009
2:21 PM

Post #6604188

Alistair, I was hoping you'd put your two bobs worth in on this one. P. julianettii was one of my options, but somewhere (can't remember) I got the impression it was smaller. I get my days off next week so I'll go into the herbarium at Palmerston and see what I can find out.

But PNG was amazing, you must have had a 'field day' when you were there, especially for the length of time you spent there. I saw so many fantastic things, but never knew what most of them were. I'd love to be able to do it with a lot more time.

Edited to add that I didn't see any of the nuts. I have eaten our local P. spiralis nuts, raw but, and like them. Just that they're incredibly hard to get at.

This message was edited May 27, 2009 11:53 PM
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 28, 2009
12:33 AM

Post #6606736

I picked this further info up from the internet:

Wild karuka (Pandanus brosimos) This species is similar to the cultivated karuka nut (Pandanus julianettii) and the expert on the botany of the genus, Ben Stone (1982:412), believes that the cultivated form is a cultivar of P. brosimos. As with cultivated karuka, P. brosimos is an important food for those living at high altitudes in New Guinea, although it is not quite as important as P. julianettii. Wild karuka is endemic to New Guinea and is not found elsewhere (Stone 1982). Within PNG, it is widespread in a high altitudinal band (2400–3100 m) in the central and fringe highlands and on the Huon Peninsula. It occasionally grows as low as 1800 m and as high as 3300 m (Table 5). Thus it is found at the top of the range of food gardening in PNG (up to 2850 m) and some hundred of metres higher.

Production is discontinuous and non-seasonal. Nuts are most likely to mature in January–February, but may mature in any month. The producing period may coincide with that of P. julianettii at lower altitudes in the same region, but this does not always occur (Bourke et al. 2004:41). The MASP database indicates that 1.322 million people live in locations where the crop is commonly eaten (32% of the rural population) (Table 3). It can be found in all mainland provinces, except East Sepik. Most (91%) of the people who grow wild karuka live in the five provinces of the Highlands Region and in Morobe Province. Nuts have not been noted in highland markets, but it is possible that they are sold in high-altitude locations. P. julianettii is likely to have greater potential for commercialisation than P. brosimos because the shell of the cultivated karuka is usually easier to break. Nevertheless, the wild species may be an important source of breeding material if improved types are to be bred in the future.

Metrosideros

Metrosideros
Keaau, HI


May 28, 2009
4:13 AM

Post #6607854

Pandanus brosimos sounds good! The plant makes our native Pandanus tectorius look like a dwarf.
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

May 28, 2009
5:45 AM

Post #6608052

Dave, that tectorius is very wide spread, all along the east coast here as well as out as far as you. But it's not where I am along the north coast (except for the 4 seeds I brought back from Queensland this last trip). Would love to have some P. brosimos but a grove of them on my place would have the whole district in a panic thinking War of the Worlds had started for real.

Metrosideros

Metrosideros
Keaau, HI


May 28, 2009
5:52 AM

Post #6608072

It appears to have village swallowing potential!
Alistair
Nowra, NSW,
Australia
(Zone 9b)

May 30, 2009
3:16 AM

Post #6616377

When I was there the nuts were sold in the markets a lot in Morobe Province (e.g. Wau, Bulolo): shelled and unshelled (cheaper)! They even brought them down the lowlands and sold them in Lae. They were deliciously oily and had a wonderful smoky taste from having been roasted in embers.

I went over the Bulldog Trail years ago and remember seeing that P. brosimos colonized the many landslides (much seismic activity plus massive rainfall). You could see long tongue-shaped patches of bush with the Pandanus trees all about equal-aged and in equal stages of development in each according to the age of the landslide.


tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

June 8, 2009
12:17 AM

Post #6655937

Just dug out another photo of P. brosimos in a settlement which gives a perspective against the houses, and, if you can see him, Charlie standing at the foot of the pandanus. Don't want to say what I think Charlie is doing there, better not go down that road ;O)

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Islandshari
Kwajalein
Marshall Islands
(Zone 11)

June 23, 2009
11:57 PM

Post #6729243

Oh my...these are huge! Here in the Marshalls, as Bignonia said, we have lots of Pandanus...some getting quite tall. There are several on island whose's stilt roots are taller than I, but nothing quite as enormous as these! It's funny though, when we go to Australia we are always pleasantly surprised at the compact size and lovely coloration of the Pandanus species we see there. Such a change from what we have!

Ahhh, variety - the spice of life!

Yokwe,
Shari
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

June 24, 2009
12:24 AM

Post #6729348

Shari, I'd have thought that you had the same one that's common on our east coast - P tectorius. We have quite a lot of different species but for gardens people mostly plant introduced ones rather than the local. I've seen our P. aquaticus growing up to about 10 metres high, but nothing like the P brosimos of PNG.
nicholtammy
Huntsville
Canada

July 4, 2010
6:30 AM

Post #7942160

wow nice pics

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