Pritchardia napaliensis

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Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah) napaliensis (nah-pahl-ee-EN-sis)
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Limahuli Gardens, in the Limahuli Valley Part of NTBG, Kauai, Hawaii. Photo by Kyle Wicomb
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
Species: napaliensis (nah-pahl-ee-EN-sis)
Pritchardia limahuliensis
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Hawaiian; Hāwane, Loulu, Loulu hiwa, Noulu, Wāhane. Nā Pali pritchardia, Nāpali loulu, Nāpali pritchardia.

Habitat and Distribution

Hawaii. Moist to wet forests on steep slopes, Napali Coast, Kauai, 150-600 m elevation.
Limahuli Gardens, in the Limahuli Valley Part of NTBG, Kauai, Hawaii. Photo by Kyle Wicomb
This rare species is found from 490 to about 1970 feet in mesic to wet forest, on steep slopes along the Nāpali Coast from Hanakāpīʻai to Hoʻolulu valleys, Kauaʻi. Endemic to the island of Kaua'i, this member of the Palm family was discovered by botanists from the NTGB in Limahuli Valley, Kaua'i in 1976. Pritchardia napaliensis is endemic to Limahuli Valley. The species can be observed at Limahuli Gardens, NTBG in Kaua'i, Hawaii.


To 10 m tall; proximal margins of petiole sparsely to moderately fibrous; leaf blade nearly flat, divided 1/2, abaxial surface incompletely covered with scattered lepidia,segment tips stiff or only slightly drooping in shade; inflorescences composed of 1-3 panicles, shorter than to equaling petioles in flower and fruit, panicles branched to 2 (or 3?) orders, rachillae glabrous; fruits 17-23 x 14-18 mm, ellipsoid. (

Pritchardia napaliensis is distinguished by its flat leaf blade incompletely covered abaxially with lepidia, inflorescences shorter than or equaling the petioles, and small fruits. Pritchardia napaliensis is similar in habit to P. minor and their ranges may overlap slightly but the latter differs in its ieaf blades completely covered abaxially with lepidia and the panicles permanently clothed with thick, pinkish brown, woolly indumentum. I am unable to find significant differences between Pritchardia napaliensis and P. limahuliensis after examining the types and liVing plants at the type localities of both species. Collections and cultivated plants from higher eievations in upper Limahuli Valley, which have been annotated or labeled as P. limahuliensis, have the abaxial leaf blade surface completely covered with lepidia and are best referred to P. perlmanii. (


Apply a complete palm fertilizer with minor elements as directed on label. Be certain that sufficient magnesium and potassium is present in the fertilizer component. This is especially critical for loulu's in pots. Magnesium and potassium deficiencies are two of the most serious nutritional disorders in palms. The deficiencies are characterized by bright yellowing (chlorotic) on leaf edges or streaking or the entire fronds yellowing. This can be difficult to reverse. Applications of Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate (MgSO4), is good but does not last and is usually washed out of the soil in rainy periods. There are some very good slow release fertilizer spikes made for especially for palms on the market which contain a good balance of minor elements with magnesium and potassium. Potted or younger loulu planted in the ground appreciate a foliar feeding of kelp or fish emulsion and Epsom salt monthly or bi-monthly. (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: The generic name is named for William Thomas Pritchard (1829-1907), 19th century British counsul in Fiji, adventurer, and author of Polynesian Reminiscences in 1866. The specific epithet napaliensis is named after the Nā Pali Coast, Kauaʻi. (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)

Phenology: Flower; Bright Yellow, The yellow flowers are showy en masse. The black fruits are small (7/8 inch long and 3/4 inch). (Bill Chang)

Conservation: Critically Endangered, Found along the Napali coast. Fewer than 90 individuals are left in the wild. Regeneration is limited, mainly as a result of seed predation by rats and goats. (IUCN Red List.)

Uses: Fronds used by natives for thatching roofs, the wood was used for bowls and spears.

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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