USDA: Pandanus conoideus – Lam

Common Name Marita, Red fruit, Pandan
Family Pandanaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A tropical plant. It grows throughout PNG from sea level up to 1650 m altitude. It becomes common above 500m. It can be up to 2,500m above sea level.
Range Origin: New Guinea, Moluccas. Limited to New Guinea and some of the islands to the west (Ceram, Buru and Ternate) in Indonesia to West Pacific. A rare plant outside its native range.
Edibility Rating         (4 of 5)
Other Uses         (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating         (1 of 5)


A tropical red fruited screw pine with a large fruit that can reach up to three feet long. About 30 varieties of red fruit are grown, but only four varieties have high economic value. The red fruit is high in oil and is a staple oil crop.


Bryantia butyrophora Webb; Pandanus butyrophorus (Webb) Kurz.; Pandanus ceramicus Kunth [Illegitimate]; Pandanus cominsii Hemsl.; Pandanus cominsii var. augustus B. C. Stone; Pandanus cominsii var. micronesicus B. C. Stone; Pandanus englerianus Martelli; Pandanus erythros H. St. John; Pandanus hollrungii f. caroliniana Martelli; Pandanus latericius B. C. Stone; Pandanus magnificus Martelli;



Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil
Edible Uses: Oil

Edible Portion: Fruit, Spice. The red fruit is high in oil. The ripe fruit is cooked then the juice mixed with water to make a sauce. To do this, a ripe marita fruit is normally split into 3 sections along its length. Then the central yellow stalk and pith area are dug out. The outside hard red layer is then cooked. Preferably it is cooked using hot stones although sometimes it is boiled in a saucepan. After cooking for about half an hour the hard pits are squeezed from the soft red juice by squeezing through the hands. Water is added to make an oily red soup. The soup is then eaten. Sometimes it is eaten by dipping green leaves or sago into the soup. At other times it is eaten with a spoon made from the marita leaf. Some people just suck the cooked juice from the seeds. As well, some people use the oily juice to cook food in. The pits or seeds are thrown away, normally to pigs. A harvested marita fruit will only keep for about one week. After cooking it will only last for about 12 hours. Carbon Farming Solutions – Staple Crop: oil (The term staple crop typically refers to a food that is eaten routinely and accounts for a dominant part of people’s diets in a particular region of the world) [1-1].


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Traditionally believed to be a good supplement as a skin and eye medicine, and as worm treatment. The variant merah panjang (long red) is used.



Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Pandanus conoideus is an evergreen Perennial growing to 5 m (16ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

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Other Uses


Leaves, stem bark, and roots are used to create a rope, seat covers, and as a bed for sleeping. Used for handicraft industry including rope and yarn. Leaves wattled as mats. Young leaves are used as a substitute cigarette wrap.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming


Cultivation details

Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Oil

Climate: tropical, tropical highlands. Humidity: humid. It grows throughout PNG from sea level up to 1650 m altitude. It becomes common above 500 m. It can be up to 2,500 m above sea level. Marita is often planted along the roads and walking tracks. It is also planted in most gardens and serves as a reminder that the land is owned by the person who planted the marita. So plants are dispersed instead of being grown in a plantation. A marita fruit is harvested when the colour starts to change to a brighter red or yellow. Sometimes it also starts to crack slightly at this stage. The fruit is cut from the branch. Marita is a seasonal crop but the fruiting season is not a short clearly marked one. The main season goes from about October to March but individual trees can bear almost throughout the year. Near the sea the marita season is longer and more spread out but as the places increase in altitude above sea level the season becomes more distinct. Carbon Farming Solutions – Cultivation: regional crop only. Management: standard (Describes the non-destructive management systems that are used in cultivation) [1-1].

Carbon Farming

  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.
  • Staple Crop: Oil  (0-15 percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Some of these are consumed whole while others are exclusively pressed for oil. Annuals include canola, poppyseed, maize, cottonseed, sunflower, peanut. Perennials include high-oil fruits, seeds, and nuts, such as olive, coconut, avocado, oil palm, shea, pecan, and macadamia. Some perennial oil crops are consumed whole as fruits and nuts, while others are exclusively pressed for oil (and some are used fresh and for oil).


Marita pandanus are normally planted from suckers or cuttings. The cuttings are using ends of branches. Suckers produce more quickly. A new shoot normally sprouts out of the branch just below where the end was cut off. The cutting will soon develop roots and become established when it is planted. A more popular method is to use a sucker or shoot growing from the plant down near the ground. The sucker is separated from the parent plant then replanted in its new place. These suckers grow more quickly and can bear fruit after 18 months to 2 years. A cutting off a branch may take up to 4 or 5 years before it produces a fruit.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Marita. Red fruit. Pandan, Pandan buah merah, Pandan seran, Saun, Sihu, Katai, Marita pandanus

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Asia, Australia, Indonesia, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, SE Asia, Solomon Islands

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin Name Common Name Habit Height Hardiness Growth Soil Shade Moisture Edible Medicinal Other
Pandanus julianettii Karuka Shrub 4.0 10-12 F LM SN M 4 0 3

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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