Native to Africa and Pacific islands, including Madagascar, Runion, and Mauritius. Palmlike, round-headed tree 2030 feet high, 2040 feet wide. Striking appearance; sends down aerial roots and bears spirals of stiff, spiny, 3 feet-long leaves at the ends of stubby branches. Female plants develop large fruit that resembles pineapples.
Screwpine can be grown outdoors only in south Florida. It has good wind and salt tolerance and thrives in any well-drained soil, even beach sand. Excellent shade or windbreak tree for the beach garden. Produces litter; needs maintenance to remove old leaves.
Outside of south Florida, grow this tree in pots. Young plants make picturesque container subjects; bring them indoors during winter, and maintain night temperatures above 55F. They need high humidity (mist frequently), direct or bright filtered light, and ample water (less in winter). Fertilize frequently with a general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer during the growing season.