Pandanus (kaffo’)

Pandanus tree at Asan Beach
This tropical tree is found throughout the Pacific Islands. In size, it reaches 4 to 14 meters (13 to 46 ft) in height, with about the same canopy diameter. It is typically found in mixed, coastal forests at elevations from sea level to 20 meters (66 ft). It is adapted to a wide range of soil types. Two distinguishing characteristics are the leaves and fruit. The former are long, narrow with spiny edges, and have great tensile strength, while the latter resembles a pineapple.

Traditional Uses
The principal use of pandanus in traditional CHamoru society was weaving. Pandanus fruit was not a staple food for the CHamoru, though the kernels of the seeds could be prepared as a relish. Nor were the tree trunks viewed a desirable wood.

Last updated: February 8, 2018

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