Pritchardia remota

leaf Main Plant Information

Genus

Pritchardia

Species

remota

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Hāwane
  • Loulu
  • Noulu
  • Wāhane

Hawaiian Names

  • Hawane
  • Loulu
  • Noulu
  • Wahane

Common Names

  • Nīhoa fan palm
  • Nīhoa palm
  • Nīhoa pritchardia

Synonyms

  • Eupritchardia remota
  • Pritchardia aylmer-robinsonii
  • Washingtonia remota

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status

Endemic

Endangered Species Status

Federally Listed

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Tree

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Tree, Small, 15 to 30
  • Tree, Medium, 30 to 50

Mature Size, Width

This species has a canopy spread of 10-12 feet [Garrett Webb, Kalaoa Gardens] with a one foot trunk diameter. [14]

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Provides Shade
  • Screening
  • Specimen Plant

Additional Landscape Use Information

A medium to tall loulu from about 20 (Nīhoa) to 50 (Niʻihau) feet. These are excellent xeric (drought tolerant), wind tolerant [1], and somewhat salt tolerant loulu. And because of ease of culture, requiring less water than most other loulu, it does very well in the low, hotter urban landscapes in full sun. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

This species, including P. aylmer-robinsonii [syn.], is one of the fastest growing loulu and will reach flowering in a few years. [15] One specimen (Nīhoa var.) planted to a site began flowering and fruiting at about 5 years of age. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Plant Produces Flowers

Yes

leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Showy

Flower Colors

  • Orange
  • Yellow

Additional Flower Color Information

Like other Pritchardia spp., the flowers are showy en masse. In cultivated plants, the flowers of P. remota are a distinctive orange, while in their native habitat on Nīhoa they are yellow. [11]

Blooming Period

  • Sporadic
  • Spring
  • Summer

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

In the wild on Nīhoa this loulu has been observed flowering and fruiting in spring and summer.

The fruit branchlets are short, hairless with small roundish (globose) pale greenish brown fruits on fruit stalks as long as the leaf stalks (petioles). [2,9]

Under cultivation this loulu seems to have no defined blooming and fruiting period. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Coarse

Additional Plant Texture Information

The leaves are green above and below, ruffled (wavy), waxy, deeply divided and have drooping tips. [1,3]

A species said to "approach P. hillebrandii more than any other" (Beccari 1921). However, the dense crown of P. remota is definitely more "untidy" than P. hillebrandii and the leaves are much more deeply divided. [3]

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

The thick leaves are glaucous to pale green on the lower surface with or without a few scattered pale minute scales and tips that droop, even having a ragged appearance. The glossy medium green semicircular leaves are about 2 feet wide. [8]

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Scale and whiteflies can plague the undersides of the leaves.

leaf Growth Requirements

Fertilizer

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. [6,7] 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

Dead leaves can be pruned for a cleaner appearance in the landscape. The flowers will attract bees and some choose to remove the inflorescence (flowering stalk) in some landscape locations.

Water Requirements

  • Moist

Additional Water Information

On Nīhoa, this loulu is naturally found in a relatively dry environment near fresh water seeps. [2]

Soil must be well drained

Yes

Light Conditions

  • Full sun

Tolerances

  • Drought
  • Wind
  • Salt Spray

Soils

  • Cinder

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Niʻihau
  • Northwest Islands

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 1000 to 1999, 0 to 50 (Dry)

Habitat

  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

Endemic to Nīhoa and found scattered in small groves on the basalt cliff bases and terraces in the upper parts of East and West Palm valleys where there are water seepages. [2] This is the most northernly naturally occurring Pritchardia spp. [3]

A Prichardia sp. now extinct on Laysan (Kauō) may have been P. remota or a similar species. [5] It was last seen in 1891 after guano miners arrived. [4]

The range extension to Niʻihau is based on a revision of the genus Pritchardia and P. aylmer-robinsonii as a synonym. [9]

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. [11]

Etymology

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 remota is from the Latin remotus, secluded or distant, literally "set aside" in reference to the range of this species restricted to the island of Nīhoa. [13]

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.). [10]

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. [10]

Noulu is a variation of Loulu. [10]

Background Information

When the early Polynesians first settled on Nīhoa (between A.D. 1000-1700) this species was probably much more widespread. Loulu were cleared for agriculture to support the few inhabitants. Today, loulu concentrate on growing on the remains of the agricultural terraces built by the earlier residents. [5]

Humans lived on Nīhoa for sometime, but loulu did make a comeback. In July 1885, however, a fire accidentally set by someone in the large party of 200 accompanying Princess Liliʻuokalani's visit, destroyed most of the loulu on the island. [5] Censuses since then indicate that the palms have been making a slow recovery over the years. Pritchardia remota is today considered rare and critically endangered with less than 700 found in a 1996 survey remaining on Nīhoa. [3,5] Potential sites for re-establishment include Necker (Molumanamana), Laysan (Kauō), Midway (Pihemanu), and Kauaʻi. [5]

Pritchardia remota is related to P. glabrata, P. hillebrandii, P. kaalae, and P. maideniana. [11]

On Nīhoa, loulu provide nesting and roosting habitat for seabirds. [5]

Green fruits taste and have a texture like mild coconut-flavored gummy bears. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Early Hawaiian Use

Besides using the trunks (wood) for shelter, loulu leaves (lau hāwane) were used for shelter, thatching, mats and perhaps to plait hats. [5,12]

The fruits (hāwane or wāhane) were eaten on Niʻihau, likely on Nīhoa as well, and taste like coconut. [2,12]

On Niʻihau, some battle spears were made from loulu. [12]

Modern Use

As previously mentioned this fast growing species does well in lowland urban areas and is tolerant of many soil and weather conditions.

Additional References

[1] "Growing Palm Trees in Hawaiʻi and Other Tropical Climates" by David Leaser, page 83.
[2] Final Recovery Plan For Three Plant Species on Nihoa Island, March 1998. USFWS, Portland, Oregon. Pages 10, 18-19
[3] http://www.pacsoa.org.au/palms/Pritchardia/remota.html (accessed 12/6/08)
[4] "Vegetation of the Tropical Pacific Islands" by Dieter Mueller-Dombois and F. Raymond Fosberg. Page 568.
[5] "Natural History of Nihoa and Necker Islands" by Neal L. Evenhuis, 46, 62-63
[6] http://donselman.homestead.com/page8.html [accessed 3/4/09]
[7] http://www.pacsoa.org.au/palms/Articles/minerals.html [accessed 3/4/09]

[8] "An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms" by Robert Lee Riffle & Paul Crafts, page 422.

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

[10] Hawaiian Dictionaries http://www.wehewehe.org/ [accessed 1/8/10]

[11] "A Review of the Genus Pritchardia" by Donald R. Hodel, pages S-3, S-8, S-40.

[12] "Niihau--The Traditions of an Hawaiian Island" by Rerioterai Tava, pages 32, 34, 63.

[13] "The Names of Plants" by David Gledhill, page 328.

[14] http://myloulu.wordpress.com/ [Accessed on 4/20/11]

[15] Notes from a presentation to the Hawaii Botanical Society by Donald R. Hodel on 11/2/11.

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