Pritchardia forbesiana

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Hāwane
  • Loulu
  • Noulu
  • Wāhane

Hawaiian Names

  • Hawane
  • Loulu
  • Noulu
  • Wahane

Common Names

  • Forbes' Loulu
  • Forbes's Loulu
  • Mt. ʻEke loulu
  • Mt. ʻEke pritchardia

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

At Risk

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Tree

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Tree, Small, 15 to 30

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Specimen Plant

Additional Landscape Use Information

A medium-sized loulu. [2]

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Yellow

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

The fruting stalks, always with hairs, are as long as the leaves. Fruits are large and at least 1 1/4 inches wide. [2]

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Coarse

Additional Plant Texture Information

This loulu has wavy, fan shaped leaves with many hairs at the base of leaf stalk. [2]

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

The leaves are green above and below.

leaf Pests and Diseases

leaf Growth Requirements

Water Requirements

  • Moist

Additional Water Information

Medium to high amounts of water. [Ethan Romanchak, Native Nursery, LLC]

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Molokaʻi
  • Maui

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 1000 to 1999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 1000 to 1999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 2000 to 2999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 2000 to 2999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 3000 to 3999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 3000 to 3999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 4000 to 4999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 4000 to 4999, Greater than 100 (Wet)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

This rare loulu is naturally from West Maui (west Honokōhau drainage; north and east slopes of Mount ʻEke) and Hālawa Valley, eastern Molokaʻi in wet to mesic locations from 1000 to 4000 feet. [4]

The range extension to far eastern Molokaʻi is based a revision of the genus Pritchardia. [2,3,4]

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

There are 27 species of Pritchardia in the Palm family (Aracaceae) of which 24 are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. [3,4]


The generic name is named for William Thomas Pritchard (1829-1907), 19th century British counsul in Fiji, adventurer, and author of Polynesian Reminiscences in 1866.

The specific epithet forbesiana is named for the botanist Charles N. Forbes. [4]

Hawaiian Names:

Loulu, pronounced low-loo, means "umbrella," because the leaves were formerly used as protection from rain or sun.

The names Hāwane and Wāhane refers the fruit or nut of the loulu, but can also refer to the palm itself. The name is also used for a small red limu or seaweed (Polysiphonia spp.). [1]

Loulu is the Hawaiian name for all species of Pritchardia in the Hawaiian Archipelago. The name has at times been misspelled as Loʻulu. However, Loʻulu, with ʻokina, is the name of the endemic Hawaiian fern Coniogramme pilosa. Loulu is also used for a species of filefish (Alutera monoceros), perhaps so called because its greenish-white skin resembled the loulu palm. It was used in sorcery to cause death because the name contains the word lou, to hook. [1]

Noulu is a variation of Loulu. [1]

Background Information

Pritchardia forbesiana is related to P. gordonii, P. lowreyana, P. munroi, and P. schattaueri. [3]

Fossil evidence show that loulu were once widely spread throughout the islands, especially in the lowlands.

Early Hawaiian Use

Loulu (Pritchardia spp.): The hard wood of the trunk of taller species of loulu were fashioned into spears by early Hawaiians.

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. [2]

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.

Additional References

[1] Hawaiian Dictionaries [12/30/09]

[2] "Loulu--The Hawaiian Pritchardia" by Donald R. Hodel, The Palm Journal #193, pages 10, 12.

[3] "A Review of the Genus Pritchardia" by Donald R. Hodel, page S-3, S-8, S-13.

[4] "Loulu: The Hawaiian Palm" by Donald R. Hodel, pages 1, 78, 79, 80.

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