Pritchardia arecina

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Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
arecina (ahr-eh-SEE-nah)
Hanamu Rd Makawao, Maui. Photo by Forest & Kim Starr
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
arecina (ahr-eh-SEE-nah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Maui; Wakiu

Habitat and Distribution

Hawaii. Wet forest on the north and northeastern slopes of Haleakala,
McBryde Gardens at the NTBG in Kauai, Hawaii. Photo by Kyle Wicomb
East Maui, 450-1300 m elevation.


To 15 m tall, emergent; proximal margins of petiole with moderate to abundant fibers; leaf blade slightly undulate to nearly flat, divided 1/4-1/3, abaxial surface completely covered with lepidia and appearing silvery grayish while to somewhat reddish brown, segment tips stiff; inflorescences composed of 1 or 2 panicles, equaling to exceeding petioles in flower, exceeding petioles or equaling leaf blades in fruit, panicles branched to 2 orders, rachillae permanently clothed with dense, felt-like to nearly woolly indumentum; fruits 45 x 38-40 mm, ellipsoid/Palmweb. Editing by edric.

Pritchardia arecina is distinguished by its petioles with an abundance of fibers proximally, leaf blades completely covered abaxially with lepidia, and large fruits. It is I similar to the highly variable P. martii, but the latter differs in its petioles with irregularly shaped, papery ligules or wings or only a few fibers proximally. It is also somewhat similar to P. woodii, which occurs not too far to the southwest in East Maui but in slightly drier areas; P. wDodii, however, differs in its leaf blades incompletely covered abaxially with lepidia and petioles with only a few fibers proximally/Palmweb.


Propagation Information: Easy. Mature seeds buried half way in pot of clean, well drained potting soil, water daily, sprout in a few months, plants of 1 foot can be put in ground/larger pot; if many species are grown in same vicinity seeds become hybridized, hand pollinate to prevent this. (Bishop Museum Kalihi)

Pritchardia arecina is an easy to grow palm but not often available for the landscape. Pritchardia arecina 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. Micronutrient deficiencies are occasional problems. If it doesn't get enough Mn and Fe (Iron), the leaves take on a rather unhealthy yellow colour. Micronutrient 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. (

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).

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

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