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E Introduced Photo: Bibhu Biswal
Common name: Pandan, Basmati Plant, Biryani leaves • Bengali: পোলাও পাতা Pulao pata • Malayalam: Biriyanichedi, Rambha • Oriya: ଅନ୍ନପୂର୍ନା Annapoorna
Botanical name: Pandanus amaryllifolius    Family: Pandanaceae (Screw pine family)
Synonyms: Pandanus latifolius, Pandanus odorus, Pandanus hasskarlii

Pandan is an evergreen herb, and is a true cultigen, believed to have been domesticated in ancient times. It is sterile and can only reproduce vegetatively through suckers or cuttings. The leaves are fragrant, and when added to unfragrant rice, give a strong scent of basmati. It reached up to 1-1.5 m tall, slightly leaning or erect stem with aerial root. Leaves are light green, linear, sword like with pointed tip, tip abruptly rounded-pointed, the lateral pleates obsolete, musky-scented. Juvenile leaves are 30-65 cm long and 2.5-4 cm broad and the adult leaves are up to 115 cm long and 7-8 cm wide. Margins are usually unarmed except at the extreme tip, There may be few minute prickles and also on the portion of the midrib. Midrib at base rarely with a few short distant retrose prickles are less than 1 mm long. Female flowers are unknown; male flowers too are almost never seen. Flower clusters are probably pendent, up to 60 cm; spathes about 90 cm; spikes cylindric, up to 35 cm or more, upper ones much shorter, 9-10 x about 2 cm, of numerous crowded, flat staminal phalanges 1.5-2.5 mm wide. Pandan leaves are used extensively in cooking in SE Asia. Pandan is believed to be native to Moluccas.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in cultivation in Orissa.

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