| Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah) |
McBryde Gardens at the NTBG in Kauai, Hawaii. Photo by Kyle Wicomb
Habitat and DistributionHawaii. Endemic. Wet forest on northeastern and eastern slopes and valleys of the
Through visual examination of the specimen growing at the Keanae Arboretum, I am able to describe Pritchardia forbesiana as growing to a height of 60 feet or more with a trunk diameter of approximately 10 to 12 inches. The leaves are a waxy dark green on both sides; the segments run approximately 1/3 the way to the hastula of the leaf and are stiff to apices. The leaves appear to be approximately 3 to 4 feet in diameter with stout petioles approximately 4 feet long. The inflorescences are shorter than the leaves and produce globose fruit approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter that are purple to black when ripe. (Bill Chang)
To 10 m tall; proximal margins of petiole with abundant fibers; leaf blade undulate, divided 1/3, abaxial surface incompletely covered with scattered lepidia, segment tips stiff to drooping; inflorescences composed of 1-4 panicles, shorter than to equaling petioles in flower and fruit, panicles branched to 2 orders, rachillae glabrous to clothed with scurfy indumentum in flower, glabrous in fruit; fruits 40-45 x 32-35 mm, ellipsoid/Palmweb. Editing by edric.
Pritchardia forbesiana, one of four Hawaiian species that is recorded from more than one island, is distinguished by its petiole margins with an abundance of conspicuous fibers proximally, leaf blades incompletely covered abaxially with lepidia and with drooping segment tips, inflorescences shorter than or equaling the petioles, and large fruits. On Molokai P. forbesiana occurs with or near P. lowreyana but the latter differs in its longer inflorescences that in fruit equal the leaf blade/Palmweb.
Forbesiana seems to grow fairly fast by Pritchardia standards.
Cultivation and Propagation: It is an easy to grow palm that likes organic soil, but is adaptable to clay and loam both slightly alkaline and acidic. Good drainage is also important. Pritchardia forbesiana 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. Tough they may be slow growing while young, once established, they will grow very fast. Fertilization: Needs a perfect fertilizer diet including all micro nutrients and trace elements or slow release fertilizer.
Pritchardia forbesiana is an easy to grow palm but not often available for the landscape. Pritchardia forbesiana 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 bolth 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. Micronutrient 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
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. Loulu lelo, literally; yellow loulu.
Pritchardia forbesiana is endemic to West Maui and East Molokai.
"Through visual examination of the specimen growing at the Keanae Arboretum, I am able to describe Pritchardia forbesiana as growing to a height of 60 feet or more with a trunk diameter of approximately 10 to 12 inches. The leaves are a waxy dark green on both sides; the segments run approximately 1/3 the way to the hastula of the leaf and are stiff to apices. The leaves appear to be approximately 3 to 4 feet in diameter with stout petioles approximately 4 feet long. The inflorescences are shorter than the leaves and produce globose fruit approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter that are purple to black when ripe." (Bill Chang)
"Don't know much about this Maui native, other than it has a dense crown of large stiff, slightly divided semiciruclar leaves. It may be hardy in southern California, but it is either too rare, or has a synonym I am not aware of. No idea how tall it gets, but looks very robust and my guess is well over 30'. Unlike many other species, this one does not have the thick orangy scurf on the petioles and leaf bases. It does have a bit of a white scurfy material that gives the petioles a mild glaucous appearance." (Geoff Stein)
A rare, medium-sized Pritchardia to about 10 m (33 ft.) tall that grows in rainforest on steep slopes and valleys in western Maui and eastern Molokai, Hawaii, between 300 and 1300 m (1000 and 4300 ft.). It can be told apart from other Hawaiian Pritchardia by its leaves being rather green underneath, the pendulous tips of the leaf segments, its short flower stalks and relatively large fruit. Like other Hawaiian Pritchardia, it adapts easily to cultivation in most warm temperate and tropical climates. (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.