Pritchardia minor

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Hāwane
  • Loulu
  • Noulu
  • Wāhane

Hawaiian Names

  • Hawane
  • Loulu
  • Noulu
  • Wahane

Common Names

  • Alakaʻi Swamp pritchardia
  • Alakaʻi loulu


  • Pritchardia eriophora

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

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Provides Shade
  • Specimen Plant

Additional Landscape Use Information

An excellent loulu for small yards. This loulu (P. minor) has been described as "one of the world's most beautiful small palms and seems just perfect and jewel-like." [4]

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • White
  • Yellow

Additional Flower Color Information

This loulu has very small flowers which range in color from whitish to pale yellow.

Blooming Period

  • Sporadic

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

After flowering it produces small dark purple fruits (nuts) on the fruit branchlets covered with pinkish cottony hairs. The fruit stalks are shorter than the leaf stalks (petioles). [6]

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Coarse

Additional Plant Texture Information

Leaves are flat. [6]

Leaf Colors

  • Light Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

The leaf color of this loulu is green above and silvery gray with golden tomentum (fuzz) below. [6]

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Loulu is prone to leaf rollers, red spider mites and sugar cane borers. Rats will eat its fruit.

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

The dead leaves, flowers and fruits can be removed in a landscape setting for a cleaner appearance.

Water Requirements

  • Moist

Additional Water Information

When plant is established, water once a month or more during dry months.

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Kauaʻi

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)

Additional Habitat Information

This loulu species occurs naturally in mesic to wet forests from the Alakaʻi Swamp to the Kōkeʻe area and western Nāpali Coast and Waimea Canyon on Kauaʻi from about 1,640 to 4,265 feet. [7]

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

There are 26 species of Pritchardia in the Palm family (Aracaceae) of which 23 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 epithet minor means smaller in reference to its smaller stature to other Pritchardia sp. But, despite the species name "minor," this loulu can be medium to tall palm growing to about 40 feet tall. [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.). [5]

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. [5]

Noulu is a variation of Loulu. [5]

Background Information

Pritchardia minor is related to P. flynii, P. hardyi, P. napaliensis, P. perlmanii, and P. viscosa. [7]

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. [9]

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] PACSOA (accessed August 4, 2008)
[2] [accessed 3/4/09]
[3] [accessed 3/4/09]

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

[5] Hawaiian Dictionaries [1/8/10]

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

[7] "A Review of the Genus Pritchardia" by Donald R. Hodel, pages S-3, S-8, S-34.

[8] Hawaiian Dictionaries [accessed 12/30/09]

[9] "Loulu--The Hawaiian Pritchardia" by Donald R. Hodel, The Palm Journal #193, page 7.



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