Pritchardia remota

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Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
remota (reh-MOH-tah)
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Loulu or Nihoa fan palm Arecaceae Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Endangered, Oʻahu (Cultivated); Nīhoa form. Photo by Dr. David Eickhoff
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
Species:
remota (reh-MOH-tah)
Synonyms
Pritchardia aylmer-robinsonii
Native Continent
America
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Morphology
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Culture
Survivability index
Common names
Hawaiian; Hāwane, Loulu, Noulu, Wāhane. Nihoa fan palm, CHINESE (中文): Bo li cha de zong HAWAIIAN (ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi): Lo‘ulu, Hawane, Loulu, Noulu, Wahane

Habitat and Distribution

Hawaii. Dry forest at the base of basalt cliffs, Nihoa "Bird Island", off the northwest
Loulu or Nihoa fan palm Arecaceae Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Endangered, Oʻahu (Cultivated); Nīhoa form. "First flowerings with three inflorescenes on the shortest loulu trunk of this species I've seen to date. The trunk is maybe three feet." Photo by Dr. David Eickhoff
coast of Kauai, and Niihau (Leeward Hawaiian Islands), 75-250 m elevation. Pritchardia remota is one of the endemic Hawaiian species that has a very narrow geographic distribution. It is one of only four Pritchardia species that are found in low-elevation dryland vegetation as all the other species are found in mesic or wet vegetation. This species is found on Nihoa at the base of cliffs and on high cliff terraces ranging from 200-800 m elevation in East and West Palm valleys. This species may also be present on Laysan, north-west of Nihoa. (National Tropical Botanical Garden)

Description

Pritchardia remota is one of the smallest in the genus, usually not more than 4–5 m tall (though taller individuals has been reported in cultivation in Hawaii). It distinguish from other Pritchardia species by its wavy leaves, its short and hairless inflorescences, and its tiny, spherical fruits. This species may be confused with Pritchardia hillebrandii but the crown of Pritchardia remota is more untidy and the leaves are much more deeply divided. Trunk: Solitary, up to 15 centimetres in diameter, slim, flexuous, ringed by leaf scars that are left after leaves have fallen. Crown: Dense and untidy looking due to the deeply divided leaves with drooping tips. Leaves: Leaf blades about 85 cm long, costapalmate, moderately plicate (folded like a fan from the base to the tips of the leaf), somewhat ruffled with drooping tips, split about 1/3 their length and nearly semicircular, smooth on the top surface, but slightly waxy and very lightly covered with tiny scales on the lower side. Petiole up to 1 m long. Inflorescence: Large, many branched, shorter than the petiole visible beneath the leaf crown. The flowers are arranged spirally along the branches. Fruit: Near spherical to ovoid, approximately 20 x 18 mm dark brown or black at maturity with only one seed. The fruit has tree layers: a shining outer skin (exocarp), a fibrous middle layer (mesocarp), and a hard inner endocarp. Seed: 13-15 mm in diameter. The seed is attached to the endocarp at one small spot called the hilum. (llifle.com)

Notes: Pritchardia remota complex is a group of similar species closely related owing to their recent and usually still incomplete reproductive isolation. The additional palms in the complex are: Pritchardia aylmer-robinsonii, Pritchardia glabrata, Pritchardia napaliensis and Pritchardia wailealeana. (llifle.com)

Culture

According to its habitat Pritchardia remota may be drought tolerant, cool tolerant and modest in its requirement. Since it is the north most naturally occurring Pritchardia, it seems to be better adapted to Mediterranean-type climates than any other species in the genus.

Soil: Sand, cinder organic soil, but is adaptable. Good drainage is also important. Fertilization: Need a perfect fertilizer diet including all micro nutrients and trace elements or slow release fertilizer. Fertilize often for faster growth.

Water Requirements: It tolerates low levels of humidity, though it prefers evenly moist but not consistently wet medium. When supplied with adequate moisture and fertilizer it is also fairly fast growing. This palm is very drought tolerant once established. It dislikes soggy soils. The roots and lower trunk can rot if soil is kept too moist. Water young plants for healthy look and fastest growth.

Light: Prefers full sun but will tolerate half day sun. Hardiness: It is adapted to tropical and subtropical climates but tolerate a wide range of climates and will even tolerate cool conditions; In favourable temperate climate they should be grown in cold green houses or at least in a place where they are sheltered by the wind; However mature specimens can endure light frost (for short periods), while young plants are more cold sensitive. Best kept above 5° C. (USDA zones 10-11 but quite hardy in zone 9b).

Comments and Curiosities

Conservation: This species is known from a single population on Nihoa, which is thought to contain approximately 600-700 individuals. Pritchardia seeds are damaged by rats that gnaw through the seed husk in order to obtain the nutritious endosperm. Pigs and goats damage seedlings both by herbivory of the young leaves and by trampling. The absence of introduced mammals on Nihoa protects Pritchardia remota populations from these factors that threaten the survival of other Pritchardia species. The populations are however vulnerable to other natural and human induced disturbance including hurricanes and fires. (National Tropical Botanical Garden)


External Links

References

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).


Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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