|Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah) schattaueri (skah-tower'-ee)|
Hawaii, Big Island. Photo by Dr. Eric White
Habitat and DistributionMoist forest on gentle slopes, 600-800 m elevation.
This species reaches an incredible height of 130 feet (40 m), with a trunk diameter of 1 foot (0.30 m). The 30 or so leaves in the crown, are 5–6 feet (1.5–1.8 m) long and have 6–7-foot (1.8–2.1 m) petioles. It grows at elevations of 2,000 – 2,600 feet (610–790 m), where it receives 2,000 millimetres (79 in.) of rainfall per year. Editing by edric.
To 25 m tall; proximal margins of petiole with abundant fibers; leaf blade slightly undulate, divided 1/3-2/5, abaxial surface incompletely covered with scattered lepidia, segment tips drooping inflorescences composed of 1-4 panicles, shorter than or about equaling petioles, when in flower, and in fruit, panicles branched to 2 orders, rachillae glabrous; fruits 30-50 x 30-40 mm, globose to obovoid. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.
Pritchardia schattalleri can be distinguished by its leaf blades incompletely covered abaxially with lepidia and divided to more than one third with pendulous segment tips, inflorescences shorter than or about equaling the petioles, glabrous rachillae and large fruits. It is similar to P. gordonii but the latter differs in having leaf blades with narrower and more deeply bifid segment tips (resulting in the tips appearing more conspicuously pendulous), slightly longer inflorescences equaling or exceeding the petioles in fruit, and oblate fruits. (iucn.org)
Sunny, moist, but well drained position. Probably the fastest growing of all Pritchardias. Pritchardia seeds have been shown to have a high germination rate and seedlings grow well in the right nutrient, temperature, and light conditions. The outer husk must be removed from the seeds in order for germination to occur. This is most easily achieved by soaking the seeds for at least 24 hours. After removal of the outer husk the seeds can be germinated by placing them in the dark for 4-8 weeks either in a planting medium (such as 3 parts perlite to 2 parts peat moss) or potting soil in seed flats or in zip lock bags. (National Tropical Botanical Garden)
Apply a complete palm fertilizer with minor elements as directed on label. Be certain that sufficient magnesium and potassium is present in the fertilizer component. This is especially critical for loulus in pots. Magnesium and potassium deficiencies are two of the most serious nutritional disorders in palms. The deficiencies are characterized by bright yellowing (chlorotic) on leaf edges or streaking or the entire fronds yellowing. This can be difficult to reverse. Applications of Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate (MgSO4), is good but does not last and is usually washed out of the soil in rainy periods. There are some very good slow release fertilizer spikes made especially for palms on the market which contain a good balance of minor elements with magnesium and potassium. Potted or younger loulu planted in the ground appreciate a foliar feeding of kelp or fish emulsion and Epsom salt monthly or bi-monthly. Palm grower Garrett Webb, Kalaoa Gardens, Kailua-Kona notes that "even though the remnant population grows at a higher elevation where it is cool and cloudy, it has proven to perform well in hot and dry lower elevations. Garrett Webb also suggests that "it grows best with some shade at immature stages and will eventually tolerate full sun." (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
Pritchardia schattaueri is an easy to grow palm but not often available for the landscape. Pritchardia schattaueri vary in shape. Specimens raised in dry and/or infertile soils tend to be smaller in stature with smaller leaves. Light also affects the plant's form while those grown in full sun are more compact. This palm prefers a sunny, well drained, and moist location. Growth rate: It is a slow growing, short stocky palm. Soil: It likes organic soil, but is adaptable to clay and loam both slightly alkaline and acidic. Good drainage is also important. Fertilization: Need a perfect fertilizer diet including all micro nutrients and trace elements or slow release fertilizer. Micro-nutrient deficiencies are occasional problems. If it doesn't get enough Mn and Fe (Iron), the leaves take on a rather unhealthy yellow colour. Micro-nutrient deficiencies only show up on soil with a high pH. Fertilize often for faster growth. Water Requirements: Needs regular water, do not let dry out between waterings. however it does not want to sit in continually wet, mucky soil. The roots and lower trunk can rot if soil is kept too moist. Light: Prefers full sun but will tolerate half day sun. Hardiness: It is adapted to tropical and subtropical climates, young plants are more cold sensitive. Maintenance: Remove dead fronds and spent fruiting stalks for a clean landscape appearance. Fronds can be left on the palm to form a skirt for natural settings. Palms recycle nutrients from dead or dying fronds and use them for healthier fronds. Palms only have a set number of new leaves that can sprout and grow per year and removing fronds will not increase that number. If you cut off more than what will grow annually, you could be left with a pretty bare and bald palm. Pest & Disease: Mealybugs and whiteflies underneath the leaves can present problems at times if not kept in check. A generous spray of water can wash them off. Ornamental: It is cultivated as an ornamental tree, and planted in gardens and parks in tropical and sub-tropical climates either as a single specimen or in groups. Culture in containers is possible although growth rates are slower. A bright patio will provide an excellent environment for young specimens which can eventually be planted in a sunny location. (llifle.com)
Comments and Curiosities
Conservation: It is threatened by habitat loss. As of 1998 there were 12 individuals remaining in the wild. This is a federally listed endangered species of the United States. (ICUN Redlist)
Etymology: Pritchardia name is dedicated to William Thomas Pritchard (1829-1907), British official stationed in Fiji in the 19th Century, British counsul in Fiji, adventurer, and author of Polynesian Reminiscences in 1866. The speific epithet schattaueri is named for George Schattauer of Kona, Hawaiʻi who discovered this species in 1960 while clearing his land. ("A New Species of Pritchardia from South Kona, Hawaii", pages 31, 32.)
Phenology: "The yellow flowers, like other Pritchardia spp., are showy en masse. The fruits are brown to black with brown spots when ripe and are from 1 to 2 inches long and about as wide." (Bill Chang)
"Pritchardia schattaueri is closely related to P. forbesiana, P. gordonii, P. lowreyana, and P. munroi." "The vernacular, or common, name "Lands of Papa pritchardia" comes from the location where it was first discovered, Papa, South Kona, Hawaiʻi Island." (A Review of the Genus Pritchardia", page S-8, S-39, S-41-42.)
"Each of the semicircular leaves is 5 to 6 feet wide. The leaf crown is spherical and dense. The petioles, stem portion connecting leaf to the palm, are 6 or 7 feet long, and covered in light brown, chalky tomentum (fuzz) on the lower surfaces." (Bill Chang)
"A distinctive feature of this species is the drooping leaf tips at maturity." (Garrett Webb, Kalaoa Gardens)
"By far the tallest of the Pritchardias, growing up to 130'! Has very long, large drooping leaves and leaflet tips. Leaves start out semicircular but eventually seem more wedge shaped. Form the big island of Hawaii where it is endangered. Great palm for southern California, too, seeming to handle some mild frosts OK, but not as fast a grower as some other species." (Geoff Stein)
Short forum discussion HERE
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.
Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.
Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.
Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).
Hodel, D. 2007.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.