| Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah) |
Hawaiian rainforest. Photo by Metrosideros
Habitat and DistributionPritchardia beccariana occurs on the northeastern and eastern slopes of
Solitary fan leaved palm with large, flat, round leaves with shallowly divided leaf blades and stiff segment tips. This is one of the taller Pritchardias growing up to 20 meters tall. Inflorescences are shorter than or equal to the petiole length and the fruits are large, approximately 40 x 30-40 mm globose to ellipsoid.
To 20 m tall; proximal margins of petiole with slight to moderate fibers; leaf blade nearly flat, divided 1/5-1/4, abaxial surface incompletely covered with scattered lepidia, segment tips stiff; inflorescences composed of 2-4 panicles, shorter than or equaling petioles in flower and fruit (infrequently slightly exceeding petioles in fruit), panicles branched to 3 orders, rachillae glabrous to clothed with scurfy indumentum in flower, glabrous in fruit; fruits 40 x 30-40 mm, globose to ellipsoid/Palmweb. Editing by edric.
Pritchardia beccariana is distinct in its large, flat, round, shallowly divided leaf blades incompletely covered abaxially with lepidia and with stiff segment tips, inflorescences shorter than or about equaling the petioles, and large fruits. It is similar to P. gordonii and P. schattaueri, both of which differ in their leaf blades with pendulous segment tips and petiole margins with an abundance of conspicuous fibers proximally/Palmweb.
Requires constantly moist soil, and can take shade or full sun, although grows considerably faster in sun.
Comments and Curiosities
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 specific epithet beccariana is named for the Italian botanist Odoardo Becarri (1843-1920), perhaps best known for "discovering" the Titan arum, the plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, in Sumatra in 1878.
"The mature trunks grow to sixty feet; more commonly to forty feet with a diameter of one foot. Deep brown with closely set leaf scar rings, the trunk shows off narrow vertical fissures. The leaf crown is spherical because of the persistent dead leaves; it attains a spread of fifteen feet. The leaves are three to four feet wide and semi to almost circular. The leaf segments extend to one third of the leaf blade, and the stout petioles extend into the blades, forming a distant midrib. The leaf blade is slightly folded and cup shaped when young. They are bright clear green on both sides; the segments are slightly pendent at their apices. The petiole is stout, five feet long, light brownish, and covered in a chalky, light brown to almost white felt when young. The inflorescences are five feet long and many branched, they bear small yellowish bisexual flowers. The fruit are one inch wide, round and glossy black when ripe." (Bill Chang)
These threes thrive in partial shade to full sun except in the hottest climates where it needs protection from the midday sun. Pritchardia beccariana loves water and must not suffer drought conditions. It also needs humus rich soil that is well drained. The species is one of the tallest growing of the genus. Younger plants are incredibly attractive up close because of the near perfection of the heavy leaves.
Of the five loulu species native to the Island of Hawaii, Pritchardia beccariana is found in ‘Ola’a, a forest in the Volcanoes National Park, and can be easily seen from Wright Road (Highway 148). Mature trees emerge far above the canopy of ‘Ohi’a (Metrosideros polymorpha), tree ferns and other common rain forest trees. This species of loulu is also distributed over uncleared forest outside the National Park and is not considered rare; however, the threats to reproduction from rats, feral pigs and insects should be considered for close observation.
The names Hāwane and Wāhane can refer to either the fruits or the trees themselves.
This loulu is found from about 1000 to 4200 feet in wet forest on Mauna Loa, Hawaiʻi Island. It probably originally occured lower, perhaps to sea level, but urbanization, farming, and reforestation projects have destroyed the forest at lower elevations.
The hard wood of the trunk of taller species of loulu were fashioned into spears by early Hawaiians.
The fruits called hāwane or wāhane were peeled and eaten by early Hawaiians. They collected young fruits. The flavor of young fruit with the soft interior is similar to coconut. The trunks loulu were notched for climbing to gather the immature fruits and fronds. Older specimens still bear notches that can be seen today.
Loulu or Kilauea pritchardia. Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands (Hawaiʻi Island only) Oʻahu (Cultivated). The fruits called hāwane or wāhane were peeled and eaten by early Hawaiians. They collected young fruits. The flavor of young fruit with the soft interior is similar to coconut. The trunks loulu were notched for climbing to gather the immature fruits and fronds. Older specimens still bear notches that can be seen today. The fronds, or leaves, called lau hāwane were used by the early Hawaiians for thatching and more recently as plaiting such as papale (hats) and fans. (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
"One of the larger-leaved Pritchardias. Does fairly well in southern California in partial shade situations, but is a slow plant. Native to Hawaii. Leaves are semicircular to somewhat less of a circle than that. Only split about 1/10 of the way down the leaf." (Geoff Stein)
A high altitude species from montane rainforest on the Big Island of Hawaii. It has a beautiful leaf, almost circular in outline, and a robust, rather tall trunk. The seeds are large. (RPS.com)
- 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.