Pritchardia Seem. & H.Wendl.
  • Bonplandia (Hannover) 10: 197 (1862) 

Notes: , nom. cons. Distribution: SW. & C. Pacific

General Description

Moderate, solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, hermaphroditic tree palms. Stem erect, sometimes deeply striate, ringed with close leaf scars. Leaves induplicate, costapalmate, marcescent in immature acaulescent individuals, deciduous in trunked individuals; sheath tomentose, soon disintegrating into a mass of fibres; petiole elongate, flattened or channelled adaxially, abaxially rounded or angular, extending into the costa without interruption, usually tomentose; adaxial hastula a ridge with a central point, abaxial hastula absent; blade divided to ca. 1/3 to 1/2 its radius along adaxial folds into single-fold segments, further shallowly divided along abaxial folds, interfold filaments often present, segments stiff, held in 1 plane or variously pendulous, surfaces similar or more distinctly glaucous abaxially, usually copiously tomentose along ribs, frequently with small scales on abaxial surface, transverse veinlets conspicuous or obscure. Inflorescences interfoliar, solitary or 2–4 together in each axil, sheathed by a common prophyll, branched to 3 orders; peduncle conspicuous, stiff, ± erect to pendulous, shorter or longer than the leaves; prophyll tubular, 2-keeled, closely sheathing, densely tomentose, sometimes disintegrating into a weft of fibres; peduncular bracts several, similar to the prophyll, tending to split along one side, irregularly tattering, sometimes inflated, adaxially glabrous, densely tomentose abaxially, rarely becoming glabrous; rachis much shorter than the peduncle; rachillae straight, curved or somewhat zigzag, tending to be crowded forming a head of flowers, glabrous or sparsely to densely hairy, bearing spirally arranged, minute bracts subtending solitary flowers. Flowers sessile or borne on very low tubercles, floral bracteoles apparently absent; calyx tubular, shallowly 3-lobed distally, rather thick and coriaceous; corolla considerably exceeding the calyx, coriaceous, tubular at the base, divided distally into 3 ± elongate valvate lobes, the lobes forming a cap deciduous at anthesis; stamens 6, borne near the mouth of the corolla tube, the filament bases connate to form a conspicuous tube projecting beyond the calyx, with 6 short distinct tips bearing oblong, ± erect, latrorse anthers; gynoecium tricarpellate, the carpels wedge-shaped, distinct in the ovarian region, connate in a common elongate style bearing a minutely 3-lobed stigma, ovule basally attached, anatropous. Pollen ellipsoidal, with slight to obvious asymmetry, occasionally oblate triangular; aperture a distal sulcus, less frequently a trichotomosulcus; ectexine tectate, scabrate, or perforate, aperture margin similar; infratectum columellate; longest axis 38–53 µm [7/27]. Fruit spherical or ovoid, developing from 1 carpel only, bearing apical stigmatic and sterile carpel remains; calyx persistent; epicarp smooth, mesocarp rather thin, fleshy, fibrous, endocarp thin, woody and rather brittle, sometimes thickened at the base. Seed ± spherical, basally or subbasally attached, with rounded hilum, endosperm homogeneous, the seed coat slightly thickened by the hilum but endosperm without conspicuous intrusion of the seed coat; embryo basal. Germination remote-tubular; eophyll entire, lanceolate, plicate. Cytology: 2n = 36, 36 ±2.

Diagnostic Description

Moderate solitary hermaphroditic fan palms found on scattered islands through the western Pacific and with a major radiation on the Hawaiian Islands, immediately recognisable by the long peduncles and flowers in which the tip of the corolla falls off to expose the stamens.


Leaf (Tomlinson 1961), roots (Seubert 1997), floral (Morrow 1965), fruit (Reddy and Kulkarni 1982), endocarp (Murray 1973).


Most of the Hawaiian species are found on the windward slopes of the islands in wet forested areas from sea level to over 1400 m altitude; a few species occur in dry forest on the leeward sides.


About 27 recognised species from Fiji, Tonga, Danger Islands and Hawaii. All but five species are Hawaiian endemics; many are extremely rare and endangered, or not seen in the wild for several years.


The large leaves are used as fans and umbrellas.

Common Names

Loulu palms.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Pacific North-Central Pacific Hawaii
  • South-Central Pacific Cook Is.
  • Tuamotu
  • Southwestern Pacific Fiji
  • Tonga
Introduced into
  • Asia-Tropical Papuasia Solomon Is.
  • Pacific Northwestern Pacific Marshall Is.
  • South-Central Pacific Marquesas
  • Society Is.
  • Southwestern Pacific Niue
  • Samoa
  • Vanuatu
  • Southern America Caribbean Trinidad-Tobago


  • 1 J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
  • 2 Hodel, D.R. (2007). A review of the genus Pritchardia. Palms; Journal of the International Palm Society 51(Suppl.): 1-53.
  • 3 Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

 Information From

Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet Accessed on 21/04/2013
  • A Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
  • B
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • C Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • D See You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.