The Screw Pines are cultivated. The variety named Pandanus odoratissimus (aka Pandanus fascicularis, Pandanus tectorius) is preferred as being the most fragrant. The flowers grow about 18 to 20 inches (45 to 50 cm) tall, surrounded by leaves. They have a fruity, perfumed, sweet fragrance. Southern Indian girls often weave them into their hair as a fragrant decoration.
Though only the actual flowers, called “tayai”, are used for the essence, the leaves, called “mogali rekulu”, aren’t just discarded; they are used as room and drawer fresheners.
The essence is expensive, but you use just a few drops at a time. It can be used to flavour both savoury and sweet dishes, and beverages.
It is used throughout southeast Asia, particularly wherever people from Northern India, particularly Rajasthan, have settled.
You can also buy artificial versions.