Pritchardia vuylstekeana

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Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah) vuylstekeana
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
Species: vuylstekeana
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names

Habitat and Distribution

Pritchardia vuylstekeana is
Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden, Hawaii. Photo by Paul Craft
endemic to Tuamotu Islands.


This binomial has a history similar to that of Pritchardia pericularum. It first appeared as a name only (Rev. Hort. 55: 206. 1883) in a discussion of plants that Vuylsteke had exhibited at the Exposition Internationale de la Societe Royale d'Agriculture et de Botanique de Gand in 1883. The binomial may have also appeared in Vuylsteke's nursery catalogs or seed lists of the same era, although a search of the available catalogs failed to reveal the name. The binomial was again listed as a name only (Gard. Chron. 109: 693. 1883) in a discussion of plants that Vuylsteke had presented at the Paris Exhibition in 1883. In that account, an illustration proVided by Vuylsteke of a juvenile plant accompanied the article. early simultaneously, Andre (Rev. Hort. 55: 329. f. 59. 1883), reporting on the 1883 Gand (Ghent) expOSition, proVided a more lengthy account of Pritchardia vuylstekeana in which, quoting directly from a letter or other information that Wendland had written, appeared the name and a description of the fruits, seeds and (very briefly) a leaf from a young plant. Thus, the name and description were formally validated and are attributed to Wendland. Also, the same illustration that appeared in The Gardeners' Chronicle was reproduced in Andre's article. As no type was designated, it is accepted as the holotype. Andre gave additional, general information about the plant, which he had seen at Ghent, and commented on its suitability as a horticultural subject for European stovehouses. He also provided information (probably from Vuylsteke) about the habitat of this species in the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia. He stated that the seeds were collected from a low, uninhabited island with no prior European contact that, because of rocky cliffs, was nearly inaccessible and so difficult to land upon that many boats had crashed in previous attempts. The seeds retained their viability after a seven-month voyage and germinated. No information was provided about who collected them or when, or the exact location or name of the island. Beccari (1890, 1907) gave a brief description of the fruits, simply repeating the scant information that Andre had provided.


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.

"This is a relatively new non-Hawaiian Pritchardia available in cultivation now... and it seems to be the most cold-hardy of the non-Hawaiian Pritchardias, handling temps below 32F as a seedling. I have not seen many larger palms in southern California, but mine survived two winters without languishing like the P pacificas do. Maybe it will survive here. Maybe not.. too soon to tell. Has the wonderful large, flat, finely pleated semicircular fan leaves of those non-Hawaiian Pritchardias, though... would sure look great here. Not sure on ultimate height- very little information on the subject." (Geoff Stein).

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks, 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. A Review of the Genus Pritchardia. Palms 51(4): Special Supplement S 1-53.. 2007.

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

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