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LEXICON

 

 

pandanus

English-Latin. Large genus of trees with around 600 species, found from East Africa to Australasia and the Pacific. They are palm-like evergreens and some grow to 15 meters and more. Thailand has two main species, namely the Pandanus helicopus, called ton toey and the Pandanus ordorus, called ton toey hom. Both have long and narrow sword shaped leaves, but those of the Pandanus helicopus have an spiked edge, resembling the leaves of a pineapple plant, and those of the Pandanus ordorus (fig.) are smooth. The latter are often used in cooking, as a wrapping to give the food a specific scent or taste, as well as a green food colouring agent, especially in deserts. Those are called bai toey hom and because of their scent (hom) they are often seen in bundles on the back shelf of cars, mainly in Bangkok taxis (fig.). They are usually grown in floating gardens on the water and therefore in Thai also referred to as bai toey nahm, ‘water pandanus’. The edible fruits of the lamjiak or screw pine species consist of orange berries, that resemble pineapples (fig.).