Pandanus Odoratissimus Linn

Botanical Name: Pandanus odoratissimus Linn

Sanskrit Name: Ketaki

Family Name: Pandanaceae


Vernacular names :

Common name – screw pine

  1. Hindi – keura
  2. Kannada – tale mara
  3. Malayalam – kaida , thala
  4. Tamil – tazhai, thalay


Ketak, Chamarapushpaka, Deerkhapatra


Is an aromatic monocot species of plant in the pandanaceae family, native to polynesia, australia, south africa and the philippines and is also found wild in souther india and burma. It is commonly known as screw pine. In arabic speaking countries the tree is often reffered to by its arabic name , al- kadi

Botanical details

A densely branched shrub, rarely erect, found along the coast of india and in Andaman islands; it is common on the sea shore forming a belt of dense, impenetrable vegetation above the high water mark, stem up to 6m high, supported by aerial roots; leaves glaucaous- green, 0.9-1.5m long, ensiform, caudate acuminate, coriaceous, with spines on the margins and on the midrib; spadix of male flowers, 25-50cm long with numerous subsessile clyindric spikes, 5-10cm long, enclosed I long, white, fragrant caudate acuminate spathes; spadix of female flowers solitarity 5 cm. in diameter ; fruit an oblong or globose syncarpium, 15-25 cm. in diameter, yellow or red ; drupes numerous.


This species is the most widespread and has been recorded from Mauritius   Islands in   the west to Polynesian Islands in the east. It is highly polymorphous   and   has   been described   under several specific names. It includes numerous varieties and forms, some of them fixed and selected in various countries for specific uses. An unarmed form, forma laevis Warb., is cultivated for the fragrant bracts of
the inflorescence, while forma samak, a group of prickly pandans is preferred for the tough leaves suitable for matting ; another form with longitudinal yellow bands on leaves (forma variegatus) is grown for ornamental purposes. In Pacific Islands, some of the forms (e.g. forma pulposus) are cultivated for their edible fruits ; they are said to be carefully propagated by cuttings. A detailed study of these variants and their systematic position is still lacking [Burka II, 165o ; Warburg in Das Pflanzenreich 117

Areas of growth

Pandanus Odoratissimus Linn are found growing generally along banks of rivers, canals, fields, ponds, etc. ; they are considered to be good soil binder. The male inflorescences are valued for the fragrant smell emitted by the tender white spathes covering the flowers and for the valuable attar obtained from them. Though found scattered over a large number of places in India, the commercial exploitation of male spadices is centred   mostly   around   Kollapalli,   Meghna   and Agraram in Ganjam district (Orissa), and a few centres in Madras and Uttar Pradesh (Information from B.C. Gulati ; Dhingra et al., Perfum. essent. Oil Rec., 1954, 45, 219)


Pandanus Odoratissimus Linn   can   be   propagated   by offsets or division of the suckers. For raising scented types, a fertile, well-drained soil is preferable. The tree begins to flower 3 to 4 years after planting. The f lowering is chiefly during the rains (July—October). The spadices take a fortnight to mature, depending upon the weather conditions. In India and Burma,
the male flowers are valued for their fragrance and used as a hair decoration. They are also used for the extraction of kewda attar and kewda water, highly prized by Indian perfumers. A fully mature tree
bears 30-40 spadices in a year. It is estimated that there are about 300-400 thousand trees in Ganjam district   and   nearly   to   million   spadices   are used annually for the production of kewda attar, kewda water and kewda oil (Haines, V, 877 ; Information from B. C. Gulati).


Oil of kewda is not extracted in India on a commercial scale ; the solubility of kewda oil in water is so high that it cannot be separated from the distillate by ordinary physical means. Sometimes perfume of the kewda spadices is extracted with sesame seeds, by   the   modified   enfleurage   process,   as   used   for jasmine and the extracted oil is used as hair oil alone or after admixture with jasmine-perfumed sesame oil. It has also been reported that kewda oil based on palmarosa oil is extracted in Orissa. Kewda oil has been experimentally prepared by extracting the spadices with a solvent, precipitating the fatty and waxy matters with alcohol and distilling the absolute under reduced pressure. The oil, obtained in a yield of 0.1-0.3%, was light yellow, with a strong characteristic and fascinating odour, reminiscent of lilac, superimposed on hyacinth and tuberose notes. A different technique was used at H.B. Technological Institute, Kanpur,   for the extraction of oil. The spadices were distilled with steam and the vapours collected in a volatile solvent which was later removed by diStillation under vacuum. Spadices fromGanjam district gave a yield of 0.03% oil and those from   Ghazipur          (U.P.)   about   half   this   amount. The oil was light yellow in colour, with a fugitive, oriental type odour. It had the following characteristics: sp. gr.20°, 0.9320-0.9584 ; n2°°, 1.4.854-1.4908 [a] n           + 1.35° to +2.08° ; acid val., 14-6.7 ; ester val..15.9-40.9 ; ester val. after acetylation, 80.7 ; and sol. in equal volumes of 8o% alcohol (Sadgopal, loc. cit. ; dhingra et al, perfume, essent . oil rec., 1951, 42, 114; 1954,45,219)

Other research and studies, uses 

  • The leaves are said to be a good paper making The roots are fibrous and are used by basket makers for binding. They are cut   into lengths, beaten out and are very commonly used as brushes
    for painting and whitewashing. The root fibre may be used as a substitute for bristle in brush making (Burkill, II, 1651).
  • The leaves are said to be valuable in leprosy, small-pox, scabies and diseases of the heart and brain. The anthers of the male flowers are given in earache, headache and diseases of the blood (Benthall, 43o).
  • The juice obtained from the whole inflorescence from which the spathes have been removed is said to be useful in rheumatic arthritis in animals. The oil and otto are considered stimulant and antispasmodic and are administered for headache and rheumatism. A medicinal oil is said to be prepared from the roots also (Annu. Rep. Scheme Res. Indigenous Drugs used in Veterinary practice with special reference to their
    Indian   Coun.   agric.   Res., 1941, 31 ; Rama Rao, 424).
  • The roots used in conjunction with the leaves of Scaevola koenigii Vahl furnish a black dye. Juice of the root is added in preparing mortar (Rama Rao, 424 ; Sampson, Kew Bull. Addl Ser., XII, 1936, 128).