Screw Pine is the very descriptive name of this tropical palm-like tree that is native to Madagascar. The edible fruits resemble pineapples, hence the pine - pineapple in the name, and the stout stems resemble large screws because they have many narrow, spirally arranged leaf scars. The screw pine is a coastal plant that grows along seashores and in coastal lagoons. It has large aerial prop roots that stabilize it in shifting sands. The spirally arranged leaves are light green or blue green and are in large tufts on the branches. Male plants have large, pendant clusters of fragrant, whitish flowers. The female plants produce large, globose clusters of fruits. The fruits contain many segments that are olive green at the apex and bright orange or yellow at the base. It has horizontal, spreading or ascending branches and a broad, pyramidal to rounded canopy. It grows up to 60 feet tall. The screw pine is widely cultivated in the tropics and subtropics as an ornamental plant. Leaves are used to make mats, nets and thatched roofs. The fruits are edible after cooking and make a starchy food. It grows in full sun and part shade and is salt tolerant, wind tolerant and tolerant of a variety of soils. Hardy in zones 10-11.
- Soak the seed in water for 24 hours.
- The seeds like moist soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade. The seeds take 2-3 months to germinate.
- When the seedlings are about 1 foot tall, they can be transplanted.