Pritchardia viscosa

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Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
viscosa (vihs-KOHS-ah)
Powerline Trail, Kauai, Hawaii. "Fruit Showing Apical Stigmatic Remains." Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Pritchardia (pritch-AHR-dee-ah)
viscosa (vihs-KOHS-ah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate
Survivability index
Common names
Hawaiian; Hāwane, Loulu, Noulu, Wāhane. Sticky Bud Pritchardia.

Habitat and Distribution

Hawaii. Wet forest on the northeastern slope of the Waialeale massif and the Makaleha
Hawaii. Photo by Kim
Mountains, Kauai, 600-800 m elevation. This species is very rare; only a few plants are known. It inhabits open wet forests in the Kalihiwai Valley, where it grows at altitudes of 1,600–2,300 ft. (Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.


It is a medium-sized palm from 6–8 m (20–26 ft) tall, with palmate (fan-shaped) leaves about 1 m (3.3 ft) long. The fruit is produced in dense clusters, each fruit green, pear-shaped, 4 cm (1.6 in) long and 2.5 cm (0.98 in) in diameter. May reach 10 m tall; proximal margins of petiole with only a few fibers; leaf blade flat, divided 1/3, abaxial surface completely covered with lepidia, appearing silvery grayish white, segment tips stiff; inflorescences composed of 1-5 panicles, shorter than petioles in flower and fruit, panicle branched to 2 orders, rachillae clothed with scurfy indumentum in flower, glabrous or nearly so in fruit, rachillae and flowers viscous; fruits 19-40 x 12-21 mm, ellipsoid to obovoid.(Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.

Its leaf blades completely covered abaxially with lepidia, inflorescences shorter than the petioles, and especially the viscous panicles and flowers, which alone are diagnostic, readily distinguish Pritchardia viscosa.(Hodel, D. 2007)/Palmweb.

Pritchardia viscosa is a medium palm, 6 to 13 m height; the stem gray-brown with vertical striations, 16 to 21 cm diameter breast high. It has an open crown with about 10 to 20 leaves. It is the only member of the genus with flowers, buds (calyx and corolla) covered in a thick viscous as if varnished. The rachillae (flower bearing branches) are glabrous and viscous. There are one to three panicles; the peduncular bracts are wooly, dense, tan; and the inflorescence are shorter than the crown; the lower surface of the leaf blades are covered with a silvery-gray, lepidote; the ripe fruit are fibrous, black, and elliptical-pyriform, 40 x 25 mm. (


"this is an extremely rare palm-only 4 individuals left in the wild on Hawaii, and also extremely rare in cultivation. It has large, wedge-shaped flat perfect leaves only barely split at the tips and the undersides are a luminscent coppery silver. Very ornamental if you can find the seed ... someday seedlings may be for sale if they can get the plants to reproduce". (Geoff Stein).

Comments and Curiosities

Conservation: In situ management has been conducted by the land managers, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DLNR-DOFAW) with a fenced exclosure around two individuals protecting them from grazing animals and pigs, metal rat guards also circle their stems. Ex situ collections with known wild origins are maintained and protected by the DLNR-DOFAW, botanic gardens on Kauai and Oahu. Pritchardia viscosa is recognized by the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC), which provides educational awareness. Recovery plans have been thoroughly researched and produced for P. viscosa by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Recommended management strategies include: protection of in situ populations, adding rat baiting, invasive weed management and long-rang monitoring; establish new wild populations; establish effective ex situ populations; collaborate to accomplish conservation biology research; adhere to invasive weeds, pest management, and quarantine procedures. Establish reliable protocols for seed storage, including effective seed banking as a conservation tool. (

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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