Pritchardia perlmanii

From Palmpedia - Palm Grower's Guide
Jump to: navigation, search
Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah) perlmanii (pearl-mahn'-ee)
Pritchardia perlmanii02.jpg
National Tropical Botanical Garden, McBryde Garden, Hawaii. Photo by Dr. P. Goltra
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
Species: perlmanii (pearl-mahn'-ee)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Hawaiian; Hāwane, Loulu, Noulu, Wāhane. Wai'oli Valley pritchardia.

Habitat and Distribution

Pritchardia perlmanii is endemic to Hawaii. Wet forest on the northeastern slope of the Waialeale massif and the
National Tropical Botanical Garden, McBryde Garden, Hawaii. Photo by Dr. P. Goltra
Makaleha Mountains, Kauai, 600-800 m elevation. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.


To 5 m tall; proximal margins of petiole sparsely to moderately fibrous; leaf blade nearly flat, divided 2/5-1/2, abaxial surface completely covered with lepidia or nearly so, appearing silvery grayish white, segment tips stiff or slightly drooping; inflorescences composed of 1 panicle, shorter than or equaling petioles in flower, equaling petioles to equaling leaf blades in fruit, panicle branched to 2 orders, rachillae glabrous; fruits 19-40 x 12-21 mm, obovoid. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.

Pritchardia perlmanii is distinguished by its flat leaf blades completely covered abaxially with lepidia, glabrous rachillae, and small fruits. I interpret P. perlmanii more broadly than did Lorence and Gemmill (2004). I refer collections from the Power Line Trail and the Makaleha Mountains to P. perlmanii while they referred these to P. flynnii, which differs in its undulate leaf blades and rachillae clothed with felt-like indumentum. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.


This palm prefers a sunny, well drained, and moist location.

"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)

Pritchardia perlmanii is an easy to grow palm but not often available for the landscape. Pritchardia perlmanii 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. (

Comments and Curiosities

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 specific epithet, perlmanii, honors Steven Perlman, a botanist at the National Tropical Botanical Garden who first noticed the unique features of this species.

Conservation: Endangered. Fewer than 500 individuals are scattered in Waioli Valley on Kauai Island. (ICUN Redlist)

P. perlmanii was discovered in 1991 and described by Gemmill in 1998, at the time of discovery, there were around 30 palms in one grove, but 10 were lost due to Hurricane Iniki a year later in 1992.

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.

Back to Palm Encyclopedia

Retrieved from ""