| Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah) |
Iao, Maui, Hawaii. Photo by Jupiter Neilsen
Habitat and DistributionHawaii. Moist forest on Lanai and the southern and southeastern slopes and
"Naturally occurring in dry to moist scrubby forest and grasslands on near vertical slopes in the vicinity of Maunalei Gulch on Lānaʻi and in the valleys and groges on the sounthern and southeastern side of Puʻu Kukui, including ʻĪao Valley, West Maui at around 1800 feet." (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
The range extension to Lānaʻi is based on a revision of the genus Pritchardia and includes Pritchardia ellipticum and P. lanaiensis, now considered as synonyms of P. glabrata.
To 5 m tall; proximal margins of petiole with only a few fibers; leaf blade undulate, divided 1/2, abaxial surface incompletely covered with scattered lepidia, segment tips stiff to drooping; inflorescences composed of 1-3 panicles, shorter than or equaling petioles in flower and fruit, panicles branched to 2 or 3 orders, rachillae glabrous; fruits 20-30 x 20-2S mm, globose to ellipsoid/Palmweb. Editing by edric.
I could find no reliable characters to separate Pritchardia glabrata from P. eiliptica and P. lanaiensis thus, with the inclusion of these in synonymy, P. glabrata is another of the four Hawaiian species that is recorded from more than one island. Pritchardia glabrata is difficult to distinguish from P. remota and P. waialealeana. All three share the undulate leaf blades incompletely covered abaxially with lepidia and with drooping segment tips, inflorescences shorter than or equaling the petioles with panicles branched to three orders, glabrous rachillae, and small fruits. Both the latter species, however, differ in their generally larger habit. Also, P. remota differs in its slightly waxy glaucous leaf blades while P. waialealeana differs in the lack of cottony hairs or mealy indumentum on the abaxial folds of its leaf blades and the longer-than-wide fruits. The holotype of Pritchardia lanaiensis at FI is unnumbered while the isotype at BISH has a Rock number, probably one that Rock added later to Munro's specimen. Rock not infrequently added his or some other number (perhaps a number from a herbarium numbering system) to other collectors' material/Palmweb.
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 for 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. (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
"When the palm is well established, water once per month. These loulu can tolerate wetter soil with good drainage. This loulu is wind and somewhat salt tolerant." (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
"Loulu is prone to leaf rollers, red spider mites and sugar cane borers. Rats will eat the fruit." (David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi)
An excellent miniature palm for the native landscape. Stress or lack of magnesium is indicated by yellowing leaves. "It would not enjoy full low elevation sun, but would look great at 1,000’ or more." (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
Pritchardia glabrata is an easy to grow palm but not often available for the landscape. Pritchardia glabrata 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. 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
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 glabrata is derived from the Latin glabrous, without hairs, in reference the the leaves of this species generally without fuzz or small hairs.(Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
Phenology: The information for the fall/winter blooming period is based on the cultivated plants at Waimea Valley, Oʻahu. Numerous small fruits appear on fruit stalks as long as the leaf stalks (petioles). (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
"Early Hawaiians collected young fruits. The flavor of young fruit with the soft interior is similar to coconut." (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
"Pritchardia glabrata is endemic to the Island of Maui, it grows at elevations of 1500 to 2000 feet in the valleys of the West Maui Mountains near the Iao Needle and on the Island of Lanai. It is little known and not widely cultivated. The specimen at Kahanu Garden produces seeds of approximately 1/2 inch in diameter as does the specimen growing in a private garden in Muolea." (Bill Chang)
- 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.