Pritchardia maideniana

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Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
maideniana (meh-den-ee-AHN-ah)
Pritchardia affinis 5 National Tropical Botanical Gardens, Kalehua, Kauaii, Hawaii 130711x.JPG
Pritchardia affinis 5 National Tropical Botanical Gardens, Kalehua, Kauaii, Hawaii 130711 - Photo: Dr. Jan Thomas Johansson (© 2014 Jan Thomas Johansson).
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
maideniana (meh-den-ee-AHN-ah)
Old name, Pritchardia affinis.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Loulu, Hāwane, Noulu, Wāhane. Loulu is pronounced low-loo. Loulu means "umbrella," because the leaves were formerly used as protection from rain or sun.

Habitat and Distribution

Hawaii. Grouped around brackish water ponds near sea level to scattered or
Oʻahu (Cultivated) Seed for these plants collected at the edge of Honaunau Forest Reserve, Kona, Hawaiʻi Island. Photo by Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff
grouped in dry to moist forest, Kona, Kau and Puna, Hawaii, to 700 m elevation. The range of Pritchardia maideniana encompasses an area with a long history of intense human activity; thus, it is difficult to determine which individuals or populations, if any, are truly wild and which are remnants of cultivated plants. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.

Coastal sites and inland in gulches in dry to moist forests up to about 2,300 feet in Kona, Kaʻū, and Puna, Hawaiʻi Island. At sea level, they are found in groups around brackishwater ponds and even on the beach in sand.


To 10 m tall; dead, persistent leaves often forming a skirt, proximal margins of petiole with a few to moderate hair-like fibers; leaf blade diamond-shaped in outline and strongly folded from lateral compression, divided 1/2, slightly waxy-glaucous, abaxial surface incompletely covered with scattered lepidia, segment tips mostly stiff, occasionally drooping; inflorescences composed of 1-5 panicles, shorter than to equaling petioles in flower and fruit, panicles branched to 2 orders, rachillae glabrous; fruits 12-23 x 12-23 mm, globose. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.

Beccari (1913) based Pritchardia maideniana on two unnumbered collections that. J. Boorman had made from one or two cultivated plants, purportedly of Hawaiian origin, in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia, and that J. Maiden had forwarded to Beccari in 1911 and 1912 (one is dated 1911 and the other is dated 1912). Because it is more complete, I have selected Boorman's 1912 collection at FI as the lectotype. I have examined photographs of the types at FI, the (or one of the) original living plant(s) growing in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney from which the types were collected, and living plants in Hawaii grown from seeds from the Australian plant, and I can find no differences between Pritchardia maideniana and Pritchardia a(finis. The latter is synonymized here. Pritchardia maideniana is distinguished by its cuneate (diamond-shaped in outline) leaf blades (the result of conspicuous lateral folding, somewhat like that of an accordion) incompletely covered abaxially with lepidia, and inflorescences shorter than or equaling petioles in flower and fruit. It is similar to P. hillebrandii, but the latter differs in the rounder leaf blades with a distinctive and conspicuous glaucous covering. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.

Pritchardia maideniana info: Thought to be native to the Big Island along the southern coast. Description: Typically grows to about 30' but can grow twice that. Leaves are rhomboid and fairly stiff and non-droopy. Tends to form a skirt of dead leaves. Leaflets divided to about half the length of the leaf. Flowers are about the length of the petioles. Matures fruits are black, spherical and about 1" in diameter. Culture: probably the most cold hardy of all the Pritchardia and easily the easiest to grow in a Mediterranean climate such as Southern California. Frost damage is minimal in the high 20s, particularly on older plants. Many trees have survived hard, though short freezes in California. Plants there grow up to and a bit over 30' tall. In Califormia they tend to hold only 10- 15 green leaves at a time and one of the least ornamental of the Pritchardia. Plants in the tropics look much more lush and hold over twice as many living leaves. References include Loulu, The Hawaiian Palm, but Don Hodel 2012. (Courtesy Geoff Stein) Editing by Edric.


In general, few serious pests bother loulu. However, an introduced insect, the New guinea sugarcane weevil (Rhabdoscelus obscurus) has caused extensive damage, even death, on cultivated loulu. An introduced fly parasitoid (Lixophaga sphenophori) has been successful in reducing weevil populations in some instances. Proper irrigation seems to be especially important to reduce or avoid weevil infestations. Whereas, chemical control seems to mostly ineffective and requires further study.

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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