Description: The screw pine is a strange plant on stilts, or prop roots, that support the plant above ground so that it appears suspended in midair. These plants are either shrubby or treelike, 3 to 9 meters (9 to 27 feet) tall, with stiff leaves having sawlike edges. The fruits are large, roughened balls resembling pineapples but without the tuft of leaves at the end.
Habitat and Distribution: The screw pine is a tropical plant that grows in rain forests and semievergreen seasonal forests. It is found mainly along seashores, although certain kinds occur inland for some distance, from Madagascar to southern Asia and the islands of the southwestern Pacific. There are about 180 types.
Edible Parts: Knock the ripe fruit to the ground to separate the fruit segments from the hard outer covering. Chew the inner fleshy part. Cook in an earth oven fruit that is not fully ripe. Before cooking, wrap the whole fruit in banana leaves, breadfruit leaves, or any other suitable thick, leathery leaves. After cooking for about 2 hours, you can chew fruit segments like ripe fruit. Green fruit is inedible.
All text and images from the U.S. Army Field Manual 3-05.70: Survival.
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