Typical beach-side Pandanus tectorius trees on Nusa Lembongan.
In Nusa Lembongan, the local Pandanus (p. tectorius)species seems to very much enjoy the beach-side sandy soil and is certainly tolerant of salt spray from the ocean. There is something almost primeval about the way this tree clings to the earth and spreads its spikey canopy. The habit of dropping prop roots from existing branches has resulted in the locals calling this the walking tree. It certainly does sometimes look as if the trees are indeed 'walking'.
A spectacular tangle of Pandanus drop roots - the walking trees
Pandanus makes for a spectacular beach-side flora around the island but especially in the south-western quarter. There are excellent examples in the Devil's Tear, Dream Beach and Sunset Beach areas. The owners of recently completed villas here have tried wherever possible to keep the Pandanus trees - they really do make for a superb component of a landscaped garden on a tropical island.
Pandanus as part of a landscaped waterfront garden on Nusa Lembongan
A fruiting Pandanus tree on Nusa LembonganAs well as their form, Pandanus trees can be appreciated for the beauty of their reddish orange fruit. I do not know of any human uses of the fruit or flowers but they are an attractive component of the tree and seem to be popular with fruit bats and squirrels. Thoughout Asia and the Pacific islands, the leaves of Pandanus species are widely used for weaving traditional mats and other products. The leaf extract from one particular species (now widely cultivated) is also used as an aromatic flavouring in both savoury and sweet cooking.
So when you visit Nusa Lembongan, take a few moments to appreciate those wonderful, primeval trees.
And perhaps Mr Tolkien was right about Ents after all?