Pritchardia kahukuensis

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Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah) kahukuensis (Kah-hoo-koo-EN-sis)
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Hawai`i, O`ahu, Ko`olau Mountains, windward side. Specimen 1. Photo by Joel Lau
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
Species: kahukuensis (Kah-hoo-koo-EN-sis)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Hawaiian; Hāwane, Loulu, Noulu, Wāhane. Kahuku loulu.

Habitat and Distribution

Hawaii. Wet forest at the northwestern end of the Koolau Mountains, Oahu,
"This is no mere Pritchardia martii; it’s P. kahukuensis! This species of loulu has much smaller fruit that P. martii. The crown is also typically this spherical shape. These photos clearly show how strange this individual is, growing sideways out of the hillside! The trail actually passes directly underneath the crown. After a while, you don’t see P. kahukuensis anymore, it’s all P. martii up to the summit." Photo by Sebastian Marquez, See link above entitled "Loulu of La’ie"
500-550 m elevation. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.

Kahuku loulu is found in wet forest on steep slopes and ridge tops from 1600 to 1800 feet at the very northwestern end of the Koʻolau Range on Oʻahu. ("Loulu: The Hawaiian Palm", pages 1, 100, 101.)


To 15(-25) m tall; proximal margins of petiole with few, coarse, tan, papery, fibers or ligules; leaf blade slightly undulate, divided 1/3-1/2, adaxial surface glossy green, abaxial surface completely but thinly covered with lepidia and appearing grayish, segment tips drooping; inflorescences composed of one panicle, erect and slightly shorter than leaf blades in flower, arching and about equaling or slightly exceeding leaf blades in fruit, panicle branched to 2(3) orders, rachillae permanently clothed with short, dense reddish brown hairs; fruits 15 x 11 mm, ellipsoid to ovoid. ( Editing by edric.

Long included as a synonym of Pritchordia l1lortii (Read & Hodel 1999), this unusual species with large, tall trunks and full, heavy crowns of leaves occurs sparingly as widely scattered individuals on steep slopes and ridge tops at the very northwest end of the Koolau range on Oahu. It grows with or close to forms of P. martii with inflorescences greatly exceeding the leaf blades in fruit, which at I times in the past had been erroneously referred to P. kahukuensis. Pritchardia martii differs, however, in its leaf blades wilh stiff segment tips, generally hemispherical crowns of leaves, and, in this region, inflorescences greatly exceeding the leaf blades in fruit. With its full, spherical crown of leaves with drooping segment tips, Pritchardia kahukuensis is similar in habit to P. waialealeana, P. schattaueri and P. gordonii, all three of which differ in their leaf blades incompletely covered abaxially with lepidia. The paucity of collections of P. kahukuensis may be more apparent than real because characters for distinguishing it from P. martii are not readily apparent in the herbarium. Although Caum originally described the fruits of Pritchardia kahllkuensis as "15 mm long, 11 mm in diameter", and there are fruits of this size in the type collection, additional fruits in the type collection are much larger, to 45 x 35 mm. However, Leland Miyano and I visited the type locality and, while we were unable to find mature fruits on the tree, we observed rateaten, apparently full-sized fruits under several trees that were the size that Caum noted in his original description. The much larger fruits in the type collection were likely placed there in error and probably represent P. martii. (


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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