Pritchardia waialealeana

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Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah) waialealeana
Pritchardia waialealeana0.jpg
In habitat, Kauai, Hawaii. Photo by Dr. Melany Chapin
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
Species: waialealeana
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Hawaiian; Hāwane, Loulu, Noulu, Wāhane. Poleline pritchardia.

Habitat and Distribution

Hawaii. Wet forest below the Waialeale massif in east central Kauai, 500-750 m
Kauai, Hawaii. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
elevation. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.


To 20 m tall; proximal margins of petiole with only a few fibers; leaf blade slightly undulate, divided 2/5, abaxial surface incompletely covered with scattered lepidia and mostly lacking cottony indumentum on folds at base, segment tips drooping to occasionally stiff; inflorescences composed of 1-3 panicles, shorter than or equaling petioles in flower and fruit, panicles branched to 3 orders, rachillae glabrous; fruits (immature) 20 x 15 mm, ellipsoid. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.

Pritchardia waialealeana is difficult to distinguish from P. glabrata and P. remota. All three share the undulate leaf blades, incompletely covered abaxially with lepidia, and with drooping segment tips, inflorescences shorter than or equaling the petioles with panicles branched to three orders, glabrous rachillae, and small fruits. However, both P. glabrata and P. remota differ in the folds on the abaxial surface of their leaf blades clothed with thick, cottony or mealy indumentum and the more or less rounded fruits. A search failed to reveal any of Read's designated type material (Read 87-211) at US, BISH, HLA (HAW), BH, or PTBG; thus, I have designated Lorence 8446 from the type locality as the neotype. A photograph of Pritchardia waialealeana is erroneously captioned P. hardy; in Beccari and Rock (1921, PI. XIII A). (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.


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

Comments and Curiosities

"This grows in very wet conditions in subtropical rainforest and is named after Mt. Wai"ale"ale. Interestingly although Pritchardia are notorious for the tendency to hybridise, this species grows together with P. hardyi along the pole line trail, and the 2 species have remained distinct." (Chris King)

"Pritchardia waialealeana is endemic to the wet mountainous rain forest at an elevation of 1500 to 2600 feet. The epithet is Latin for “of Waialeale“, a mountain in the palm’s native habitat. This is a tall robust species. It has the widest trunk by far at 38 inches in diameter (more than double that of P. glabrata); it grows to a height of 100 feet. The leaf crown is massive, dense and spherical with short inflorescences. The leaves are 40 inches wide, semicircular and mounted on large 2 foot-long petioles. The blade is flat and the segments extend into the blade to two thirds its depth; they are stiff when young but become lax and pendent with age. This palm’s capacity to regenerate in the native habitat is also threatened with seed predation by rats. My efforts to photograph the different species of loulu falls quite short for the Island of Kauai, home to the most species of Pritchardia at this point." (Bill Chang) 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 waialealeana is in reference to Waiʻaleʻale massif in east central Kauaʻi where this species is naturally found. (Encyclopedia of Life curator Dr. David Eickhoff)

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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