The science bit
Woody evergreen tree up to 20m tall. Trunk has conspicuous stilt roots and is ringed by leaf scars. Leaves inserted in threes forming spirally arranged rosettes. Leaves up to 10cm long, rigid, linear with long drip tips (acuminate); leaf margin usually spined.
- The fruits, shaped like pine cones, are edible when cooked but are not celebrated for their flavour!
- The leaves spiral round the stem like a screw and are used for weaving mats and baskets.
- The deep taproot accesses nutrients in poor soils while the multiple brace roots anchor it in rough winds.
Where it grows
Native to the tropical islands of Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. The screwpine thrives in saline-rich areas in full or partial sun.