English-Latin. Large genus of trees shrubs and plants, with around 600 species, found from East Africa to Australasia and the Pacific. Trees are palm-like evergreens and some grow to 15 meters and more. Thailand has two main species, namely the Screw Pine Pandanus, with the botanical name Pandanus tectorius and in Thai called toey thale (เตยทะเล), literally ‘sea pandanus’, as it typically grows in coastal areas, and also known by local names such as lamjiak (ลำเจียก), pa-hanan (ปะหนัน), pa-naeh (ปะแนะ), and toey le (เตยเล), which is short for toey thale; the other prevelant species is Pandanus ordorus, called
toey hom (เตยหอม), a plant commonly known as Pandan and that is widely grown for its fragrance and use in cuisine. Both have long and narrow sword shaped leaves, but those of the Pandanus tectorius have a spiked edge, resembling the leaves of a
pineapple plant, whereas 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
They are usually grown in floating gardens on the water and therefore in
Thai also referred to as bai toey nahm, ‘water pandan leaves’. The edible fruits of the lamjiak or screw pine species consist of orange berries, that resemble pineapples (fig.). Pandanus helicopus, called kiang luang (เกี๋ยงหลวง) in Thai, is another species found in Thailand, but it is far less known and grown.