Sri Lanka. Group of Pandanus on the shore opposite Galle.

Pandanus tectorius, Sri Lanka,
Group of Pandanus

PLATE V.

Group of Pandanus.

This view, taken on the shore opposite Galle, shows a very characteristic feature of the coast vegetation. The phantastic stems of the screw-pines (Pandanus) are crawling and winding like so many snakes from cliff to cliff, supported by their long and numerous leg-like roots.

The principal trunk divides into many branches, each of which is surmounted by a tuft of long leaves. The numerous roots are of a reddish tinge and form a picturesque foreground to the dark blue surface of the sea, which sometimes is visible through their entangled network.

Pandanus tectorius is an evergreen tree that forms a trunk that grows to a height of about 6 metres, sometimes even up to 10 metres. It develops a widely spreading crown with a diameter of about 5 to 12 metres. It develops stilt roots with which it increases its stability. The linear and sword-shaped leaves are 90-150 cm long and 5-7 cm wide. The leaves are sharp-edged and have thorns around the edges.

The original distribution area is not known; it is assumed that the Polynesians spread the species as a cultivated plant. It is assumed that the original distribution area is between the Philippines and the islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Source: Sketches of the inhabitants, animal life and vegetation in the lowlands and high mountains of Ceylon. As well as of the submarine scenery near the coast taken from a diving bell by the Baron Eugène de Ransonnet (Eugen Freiherr von Ransonnet-Villez, 1838 in Hietzing bei Wien; † 28. Juni 1926 in Nußdorf am Attersee). Printed for the author by Gerold & sold by Robert Hardwicke, London 1867.

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