Pritchardia martii

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Hāwane
  • Loulu
  • Loulu hiwa
  • Noulu
  • Wāhane

Hawaiian Names

  • Hawane
  • Loulu
  • Loulu hiwa
  • Noulu
  • Wahane

Common Names

  • Koʻolau Range pritchardia


  • Eupritchardia gaudichaudii
  • Eupritchardia martii
  • Livistona gaudichaudii
  • Livistona martii
  • Pritchardia gaudichaudii
  • Pritchardia kahanae
  • Pritchardia kahukuensis
  • Pritchardia kamapuaana
  • Pritchardia macdanielsii
  • Pritchardia martioides
  • Pritchardia rockiana
  • Washingtonia gaudichaudii
  • Washingtonia martii

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Tree

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Tree, Dwarf, Less than 15
  • Tree, Small, 15 to 30
  • Tree, Medium, 30 to 50

Mature Size, Width

This loulu has a canopy spread of 8-10 feet. [Garrett Webb, Kalaoa Gardens]

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Specimen Plant

Additional Landscape Use Information

This is a wonderful loulu but not often available for the landscape. Loulu hiwa is slow growing, short stocky palms that are described as being "among the world's most beautiful small palms; it seems the essence of what a small palm should look like." [4]

They grow to a maximum height of 12 feet with a one foot trunk diameter. [4]

The attractive underside of the leaves and relatively small size make this a great choice for residential planting. [Garrett Webb, Kalaoa Gardens]

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Greenish-White
  • Yellow

Additional Flower Color Information

Flowers are small and yellowish, typical of Pritchardia. Singularly, the flowers are not impressive but has an nice display en masse.

Blooming Period

  • Spring
  • Winter

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

Bees and other insects in great numbers are attracted to the flowers. After flowering, large roundish to olive-shaped blackish fruits are produced in generous amounts.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Coarse

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

The leaves are deep olive to nearly bluish-green above but silvery bronze beneath and 3 to 4 feet wide on 3 to 4 foot petioles (portion that connects the leaves to the trunk). [4]

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Mealybugs and whiteflies underneath the leaves can present problems at times if not kept in check. A generous spray of water can wash them off.

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. [2,3] 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]

Pruning Information

Remove dead fronds and spent fruiting stalks for a clean landscape appearance. Fronds can be left on the palm to form a skirt for natural settings.

Water Requirements

  • Moist

Additional Water Information

Loulu hiwa do best with frequent waterings to keep them moist.

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun


  • Wind


  • Cinder
  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Oʻahu

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)

Additional Habitat Information

Loulu hiwa is endemic to Oʻahu (Koʻolau Mts., southern Waiʻanae Mts.) from about 985 to 2625 feet in wet forest valleys, slopes, exposed ridges, precipices, cliffs, and sometimes into mesic valleys. [7]

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

There are 26 species of Pritchardia in the Palm family (Aracaceae) of which 22 are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. [7]


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 martii is apparently named for the German botanist and explorer Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1794–1868). [8]

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.). [6]

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. [6]

Noulu is a variation of Loulu. [6]

This species has been given the specific name Loulu hiwa, "dark loulu." [8] One Hawaiian dictionary notes that the word hiwa as a color being "Entirely black, ...a desirable blackness when contrasting with uli and ʻeleʻele, which have pejorative [derogatory] connotations." [6] It appears that when hiwa is used in connection with foods, it is an especially dark black color, such as ʻawa hiwa with very black canes--the darkest of all ʻawa; niu hiwa, a coconut brought in by Polynesians with dark green husk and black shell; and hiwa kai, a black lava salt. Perhaps the name loulu hiwa has reference to the large blackish fruits as well.

Background Information

Pritchardia martii is related to P. arecina. [7]

Loulu hiwa (Pritchardia martii) is the most variable of Pritchardia species and has been separated into several species in the past. [7] However, a current revision of the genus now indicates that P. kahukuensis, formerly a synonym, is a distinct Oʻahu species from the northwestern end of the Koʻoau Mts., always having short hairs on fruit branchlets (rachillae) and smaller fruits than P. martii. [5,7]

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. [5]

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.

Modern Use

Seeds are strung for permanent lei. [1]

Additional References

[1] "Hawaiʻi's Seeds and Seed Leis--An Indentification Guide" by Laurie Shimizu Ide, pages 84-85.
[2] [Accessed 03/04/09]
[3] [Accessed 03/04/09]

[4] "An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms" by Robert Lee Riffle & Paul Crafts, page 421.

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

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

[7] "A Review of the Genus Pritchardia" by Donald R. Hodel, pages S-3, S-8, S-21-22, S-27-32.

[8] "Loulu, The Hawaiian Pritchardia" blog [Accessed 04/17/12]



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