Pritchardia hillebrandii

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Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
hillebrandii (hill-eh-BRAND-ee)
Pritchardia hillebrandii.JPG
Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii. Photo by Geoff Stein
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
hillebrandii (hill-eh-BRAND-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Hawaiian; Hāwane, Loulu, Loulu lelo, Noulu, Wāhane. Loulu lelo, lit., 'yellowish loulu', is a specific name given for this Pritchardia.

Habitat and Distribution

Endemic, Hawaii. Now restricted to the tops of the stack-like, rocky islets of
"Exceptional tree in Hawaii protected by some overhead glass (still outdoors)- nearly perfect" Photo by Geoff Stein
Huelo and Mokapa off the north coast of Molokai, 75-100 m elevation. As recently as the 1970s, a few plants of Pritchardia hillebrandii were also on the valley floors and at the base of the immense coastal sea cliffs along the north coast of Molokai although these may have been cultivated because they were near or at sites of human activity. Nonetheless, they are gone today, rats and goats likely having driven them to extinction (S. Perlman and K. Wood, pers. comm.) (

"Pritchardia hillebrandii or Loulu lelo (yellowish loulu), is endemic to the Island of Molokai where it grows along the northeastern coastline at elevations of 100 to 1900 feet. Today, the habitat is limited mainly to the tops of islets Huelo and Mokapa located off the north coast of Molokai." (Bill Chang)


To 8 m tall; proximal margins of petiole with only a few fibers; ieaf biade strongly undulate and often of a rather coarse appearance, divided 2/5-1/2, conspicuously waxy-glaucous, grayish green, rarely to nearly white or plain green, abaxial surface more or less devoid of lepidia, segment tips stiff to drooping; inflorescences composed of 1-5 panicles, shorter than or equaling petioles in flower and fruit, panicles branched to 3 orders, rachillae glabrous; fruits 15-22 x 14-19 mm, globose, often keeled or ridged. (

Pritchardia hillebrandii is distinctive in its conspicuously waxy glaucous leaf blades more or less devoid of lepidia, inflorescences shorter than or equaling the petioles, and small fruits. Leaf blades can be so heavily glaucous that they appear nearly white. It is similar to P. maideniana but the latter differs in its diamond-shaped (in outline) leaf blades (the result of strong and conspicuous folding) that mostly lack the giaucous covering. It is unclear whether Hillebrand's type material originated from cultivated plants in Honolulu or from wild or cuitivated plants on Molokai. Beccari (1890) noted that much confusion surrounded the provenance and labels on Hillebrand's specimens at B, although there is a loose note in the photograph at FI of the type at B with the name Molokai handwritten on it. It is also unclear whether the numbers identifying the syntypes of P. insignis (7970 and 8800) were applied by the Botanic Garden in Guyana or its herbarium or by the Berlin Herbarium. (

"P. hillebrandii is a medium sized palm with trunks that grow to 25 feet. The fan shaped leaves’ lower surfaces are ashy-silvery along the petioles and ridges of segment folds. They are waxy glaucous, sometimes to the point of appearing silvery as in the case of a specimen growing in the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden on Oahu. The fruit are small yellowish or reddish brown globose shaped becoming intensely bluish or nearly black when ripe. They are 3/4 inch in diameter, sometimes a little larger but less than 1 inch.


Comments and Curiosities

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

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

Special thanks to, 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.

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