Pritchardia lanigera

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Hāwane
  • Loulu
  • Noulu
  • Wāhane

Hawaiian Names

  • Hawane
  • Loulu
  • Noulu
  • Wahane

Common Names

  • Woolly loulu


  • Pritchardia eriostachya
  • Pritchardia montis-kea

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
  • Tree, Medium, 30 to 50

Mature Size, Width

Canopy spread from 12 to about 15 feet. [4]

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Provides Shade
  • Screening
  • Specimen Plant

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type


Flower Colors

  • Yellow

Additional Flower Color Information

The yellow flowers are showy en masse.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Coarse

Additional Plant Texture Information

The handsome, spherical crown tyipcally contains up to 20 ascending, spreading to drooping leaves, with 3- to 4-foot long and 4- to 5-foot wide slightly wavy to nearly flat blades held on 3-foot long leaf stalks, the latter having along the edges at the base a moderate amount of fibers.

Leaf blades are deeply divided nearly to one-half into as many as 70 stiff-tipped segments.

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

The leaf blades are glossy green above and below.

leaf Pests and Diseases

leaf Growth Requirements


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. [5,6] 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]

Water Requirements

  • Wet

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun

Additional Lighting Information

Light requirements are based on typical growing conditions for Pritchardia spp.


  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Hawaiʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

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


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

Woolly loulu has an unusual, disjunct distribution at opposite ends of Hawaiʻi Island. In the north and northwest, it occurs in the Kohala Mountains and extends partway around the northern slope of Mauna Kea  to its eastern flank; in the south it is found on the southeastern flank of Mauna Loa in Kaʻū. This species is found in wet to very wet forest on mostly flat to gently sloping terrain from 1500 to 4300 feet. [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. [1,4]


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 lanigera is Latin for soft woolly or cottony, referring to the dense, reddish brown, cottony or woolly indumentum ("fur") on the flowering/fruiting stem. [1]

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.). [3]

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. [3]

Noulu is a variation of Loulu. [3]

Background Information

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

The flower and fruit branches of this distinctive species is clothed in thick, pinkish brown, woolly hairs. It has an unusual range distribution at the north and south ends of Hawaiʻi Island. [4]

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] "A Review of the Genus Pritchardia" by Donald R. Hodel, page S-3, S-8, S-9, S-22-23.

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

[3] Hawaiian Dictionaries [Accessed 12/30/09]

[4] "Loulu: The Hawaiian Palm" by Donald R. Hodel, pages 1, 104, 105.

[5] PACSOA (accessed August 4, 2008)

[6] [accessed 3/4/09]



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