Pandanus pristis

Pandanus pristis - Body

Let’s explore a plant growing in the conservatory. This plant’s scientific name is Pandanus pristis. This plant does not have a common name. Look closely at the photos and videos below. What do you notice? How do you think this plant has adapted to survive in its environment?

Scientific name: Pandanus pristis (PAND-ay-nus PRIH-stis)

Family: Pandanaceae

Common Name: N/A (this plant does not have a common name)

Range: Madagascar

Pandanus pristis

target icon target icon target icon target icon Plant with long overlapping dark green leaves with spine-like growths on the edges. The plant has stick-like roots connecting the leaves to the soil.

Pandanus pristis

Stilt Roots. Stilt roots grow partially above the earth and help the plant stay in one place. In wet environments, the ground can move around a lot! To help the plant stay in one place and not fall over, stilt roots grow outward at an angle. Stilt roots are an adaptation that helps the plant grow tall in wet soil.

Dark Green Leaves.

Dark leaves absorb more light than pale leaves. Dark leaves help plants that live in shady environments absorb as much sunlight as they can! Dark green leaves are an adaptation to help the plant make food while in a shady environment.

Which color do you think best matches the leaves of this plant?

Horizontal Leaves. Horizontal leaves expose as much of the leaf surface as possible to the sun. This adaptation helps plants capture any available sunlight. Horizontal leaves are an adaptation that helps the plant make food while in a shady environment.

Armor. Thorns, spines, and hair protect the plant from hungry and thirsty animals (including humans). Animals need water and nutrients to stay alive. Plants are a great source of water and nutrients for animals, but plants need their water and nutrients! Armor is an adaptation to protect the plant from hungry animals.

Long dark green leaves with spine-like growths on the edges. The leaves overlap with one another. Plant matter rests between some of the leaves.

Pandanus pristis

Close up of a dark green leaf with white spine-like growths on the edge.

Pandanus pristis leaf edge

Plant with long overlapping dark green leaves with spine-like growths on the edges. The plant has stick-like roots connecting the leaves to the soil.

Pandanus pristis

A long dark green leaf with white spine-like growths on the edge. Another similar leaf curls over the leaf.

Pandanus pristis

Brown stick-like structures grow vertically.

Pandanus pristis stilt roots

Questions & Prompts

  • What do you observe?

  • What do you wonder?

  • Imagine touching this plant. What would it feel like? Do you think different parts of the plant feel different?

  • If you could ask this plant one question, what would you ask?

  • This plant doesn’t have a common name! What common name (or nickname) would you give to this plant? Why?

  • What do you think would happen to this plant if it were transplanted to a desert? Why do you think that?

Creative Prompts

  • What colors do you see on this plant? Do you see any of these greens? Can you recreate these colors using art supplies?

  • What do you think this plant’s prop roots like on the inside? Create an artwork or write a descriptive paragraph.

  • Be an engineer! Study the adaptations that help this plant survive in an environment with lots of water. Create an invention to help people survive an environment with lots of water. Your invention should use the same features that this plant uses. What does your invention do? Is your invention sustainable?

  • Be an artist! Create an abstract artwork based on this plant’s features. When you’re done, write a label for your artwork.

  • Be an artist! Create a pattern artwork based on a plant part pattern you see. When you’re done, write a label for your artwork.

  • Be an artist! Create a work of botanical art for this plant.

  • Write from the perspective of a small rainforest animal (you choose which animal). This animal encounters this plant for the first time. What do they think? What do they notice? What do they do?


Resources and References

“Pandanus.” n.d. Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed June 7, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/plant/pandanus.

“Pandanus Pristis.” Plants of the World Online. Accessed June 7, 2021. http://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:671375-1.