| Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah) |
Upper Kalalau Valley, Kaua`i, Hawaii, United States, Hawaiian Archipelago, Pacific Islands. Photo by Dr. Massey Paul D.
Habitat and DistributionHawaii, Endemic. Moist to wet forests in valleys and on exposed slopes, western
To 10 m tall; proximal margins of petiole with only a few fibers; leaf blade nearly flat, divided 1/3-1/2, abaxial surface completely covered with lepidia and appearing silvery grayish white, segment tips stiff or only slightly drooping in shade; inflorescences composed of 1 or 2 panicles, shorter than petioles in flower and fruit, panicles branched to 2 orders, rachillae permanently clothed with dense, pinkish brown, woolly indumentum; fruits 15-30 x 12-13 mm, ovoid to ellipsoid to obovoid. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.
Pritchardia minor is distinguished by its small fruits and panicles permanently clothed with thick, pinkish brown, woolly indumentum. One of the smaller species of the genus, Pritchardia minor is similar in habit to P. napaliens is, and their ranges may overlap slightly, but the latter differs in its leaf blades incompletely covered abaxially with lepidia and the panicles and rachillae lacking hairs. The type of Pritchardia minor consists of a few fruits that Rock collected on Kauai in 1909 and sent to nurseryman F. Franceschi in Santa Barbara, California who forwarded them to Beccari. After Beccari had named and given an unusually meager description of P. minor in 1910, Rock sent complete material to Beccari in 1911 upon which the expanded description in the 1921 monograph was based (Beccari & Rock 1921). (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.
Pritchardia minor is an easy to grow palm but not often available for the landscape. Pritchardia minor 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 both 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. Micro-nutrient deficiencies are occasional problems. If it doesn't get enough Mn and Fe (Iron), the leaves take on a rather unhealthy yellow colour. Micro-nutrient 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. (llifle.com)
"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 loulus 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. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi." (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
Loulu are prone to leaf rollers, red spider mites and sugar cane borers. Rats will eat its fruit. (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
"This palm grows fairly well in Southern California but is pretty slow and unlikely to ever reach 30'. Cold damage moderate in high 20s, but trees usually survive these frosts. Not one of the more ornamental species for California where it can grow in nearly full sun even inland a bit, the most sun tolerant at an early age of the Pritchardias in my experience. THis palm 'is' slow to grow, but it has a nice, dainty trunk and flat, pleated leaves with very little if any drooping at the tips of the leaves. The large fan leaves are split less then 1/4 way down and elegant." (Geoff Stein)
Comments and Curiosities
Uses: Loulu or Alakai Swamp pritchardia, endemic to the Hawaiiian islands (Kauaʻi only) Oʻahu (Cultivated) The fruits called hāwane or wāhane were peeled and eaten by early Hawaiians. They collected young fruits. The flavor of young fruit with the soft interior is similar to coconut. The trunks loulu were notched for climbing to gather the immature fruits and fronds. Older specimens still bear notches that can be seen today. The fronds, or leaves, called lau hāwane were used by the early Hawaiians for thatching and more recently as plaiting such as papale (hats) and fans. (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)
"15'-30' tall with relatively thin trunk. Leaves flat and only 2' wide. Underside of leaves grayish and proximal petioles slightly fuzzy (as are flower stalks). Flowers shorter to nearly length of petioles. Fruits ovoid and about 1/2" by 1"." (Geoff Stein)
The Alakai Swamp Pritchardia grows up to 12 metres (39 ft) high, and forms a trunk with a diameter of approximately 100 millimetres (3.9 in). The leaves are yellowish when they emerge, and this color is sometimes maintained on the undersides of mature leaves. The leaves are leathery and smooth above, but the undersides are waxy and have a covering of greyish to yellowish tomentum (felt) beneath. The shiny black fruits of this palm are ovoid, about 2 cm by 13 mm, and contain a seed up to 15 mm in diameter. It is not endangered.
Scattered in moderately dry or swampy forest to about 1000 m (3300 ft.) a.s.l. on Kauai, this Pritchardia is small to moderate, reaching a maximum height of 8-12 m (25-40 ft.). It has a slender trunk; fairly large leaves with dense, silvery white or golden tomentum on the undersides; and small fruits. (RPS.com)
Etymology: Pritchardia name is dedicated to William Thomas Pritchard (1829-1907), British official stationed in Fiji in the 19th Century, British counsul in Fiji, adventurer, and author of Polynesian Reminiscences in 1866. The epithet (species name) is Latin for “smaller”
Phenology: Sporadic. This loulu has very small flowers which range in color from whitish to pale yellow. After flowering it produces small dark purple fruits (nuts) on the fruit branchlets covered with pinkish cottony hairs. The fruit stalks are shorter than the leaf stalks (petioles). ("Loulu--The Hawaiian Pritchardia")
An excellent loulu for small yards. This loulu (P. minor) has been described as "one of the world's most beautiful small palms and seems just perfect and jewel-like."
Endemic to the Island of Kauai and found near the Alakai Swamp to Kokee and the Napali coast. Elevation of this photo around 3800 ft/1159 m. This photo shows a smaller, younger tree than the other photos but in the same location. Kokee State Park, Pihea Trail between Pihea and Alakai Swamp Trail (Hawaii, Kauai (Hawaiian Islands), US. Photo buy Dr. Eric White
Endemic to the Island of Kauai and found near the Alakai Swamp to Kokee and the Napali coast. Elevation of this photo around 3800 ft/1159 m. Close up of leaf blades of the larger of the two trees in this location. Kokee State Park, Pihea Trail between Pihea and Alakai Swamp Trail (Hawaii, Kauai (Hawaiian Islands), US. Photo buy Dr. Eric White
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
- Growing Choice Pritchardia Species IN PALM BEACH COUNTY by Charlie Beck
Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.
Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.
Special thanks to Palmweb.org, 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.