Kakadu National Park

Saturday 12 October 2019

Screw palm (Pandanus spiralis) is Kakadu’s most common pandanus species. It can be seen alongside most roads and walking tracks in the park.

You can recognise Pandanus spiralis by the long, prickly leaves spiralling upward from its slender trunk. The dead leaves hang in skirts, which provide a sanctuary for wrens, bats, mice and lizards.

The pandanus produces large seed pods from Wurrgeng to Gurrung (June – October). These pods turn bright orange as they ripen and are a favourite food of sulphur-crested cockatoos.

Culture

Bininj/Mungguy use the core of the pandanus trunk to treat stomach pain, diarrhoea, wounds, toothache and mouth sores. The tree’s large clusters of woody nuts contain seeds that can be eaten raw or roasted.

The leaf fibres are woven into baskets, bags and mats, as well as headbands that are used to treat headaches.

Traditional owners run regular pandanus dying and weaving activities in the park (check out our latest ranger guided activities for details). You can also buy beautifully crafted pandanus baskets and ornaments from the Marrawuddi Gallery at the Bowali Visitor Centre.

Other names

  • Scientific name: Pandanus spiralis