Art by Alexander Vasiljev, Copyright © 2017


Sunday, March 9, 2014


Not just any Pandanus. There is only one species of Pandanus amarillifolius or Pandan Leaf, as it is commonly known, that is admired and treasured by many in Southeast Asia for its unique quality - aroma in its leaves. When wilted or dried the leafs give out a very characteristic smell. To me it is very earthy, and warm. Closest I can come up with to compare its smells is the smell of expensive basmati rice. The leaves are used to flavor foods and drinks and in addition will give bright green color.

This plant is often cultivated among flooded fields as semi-aquatic, eventually growing up to 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m) tall. I got interested in this plant not only for its culinary qualities, but the fact that it can grow in the water. My idea was to use it in my ranchu pond, where it will utilize nitrate, a byproduct of the nitrogen cycle. Besides it is a quite attractive plant to have.

Pandan Leaf plantation in Sri Lanka

I purchased my Pandan Leaf from the plant nursery as a plantlet grown from the tissue culture. After receiving the plant on November 13, 2013, I took it out of the soil and washed the root system. I started to prepare the plant to grow hydroponically in my ranchu pond. I constructed a support from bamboo to hold the plant at just the right depth and to be able to adjust it when water level changes.

Pandan Leaf affixed to a bamboo support showing developed root system

Then I placed the plant in the corner of my ranchu pond, making sure that the roots are covered with water. The plant triple in size since I bought it almost 4 month ago. I expect it to start growing even faster, as the water in the pond is getting warmer. Judging by the growing root system, the plant seems to like its place. Lucky, my ranchu do not try to eat it and occupied with munching on the algae instead.

Pandan Leaf plant in my ranchu pond

One plant was an experiment. Now I need to get more plants of Pandanus amarillifolius to have any effect on the amount of nitrate in the water..