Pritchardia hillebrandii

Common name

lo'ulu lelo, Molokai fan palm

Description

Stem: Solitary, upright stems to 8 m tall and up to 25 cm in diameter, spreading slightly at the base of the stem, with vertical fissures on a dark gray background. Leaves: Somewhat variable in color and leaf tips, costapalmate, induplicate, 1-2 m across, undulate, forming half to two-thirds of a circle, divided into stiff, single-fold segments up to half the length of the leaf blade, with pendulous or erect, bifid leaf segment tips. The leaf color is a green to blue-green or grayish green with a heavy white waxy coating. The petiole and ribs are covered with whitish wooly tomentum. The leaf sheath breaks down into a mass of tawny fibers. The petiole is smooth and unarmed. Flowers and fruit: Inflorescences to 1 m long (usually shorter than or equal to the leaf petiole in length) with panicles branched to three orders. The flowers are yellow. Fruits spherical, black and ridged, to 22 x 19 mm.

Diagnostic features

Field: Solitary, upright palm to 8 m tall and up to 25 cm in diameter, with fissured, dark gray stem. Costapalmate, undulating, green to blue-green or grayish green leaf blades, with a heavy, white waxy coating; the unarmed petiole and abaxial midribs covered with whitish wooly tomentum. Fruits spherical, black and ridged, to 22 x 19 mm.

May be confused with

Other Pritchardia species, but the heavy waxy coating on leaves and the black, ridged fruit are distinctive.

Individuals with blue-green leaves might be mistaken for Latania loddigesii, but the blue latan palm leaf sheath splits to form a V-shape below the petiole, and the inflorescences of the two species are quite different.

Distribution

Native to the Hawaiian island, Molokai

Additional comments

This palm is native to Hawaii and is cultivated there but is also occasionally available for sale as an ornamental in warm areas including California and Florida.

Scientific name

Pritchardia hillebrandii Becc.

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Eupritchardia hildebrandii Kuntze

Pritchardia insignis Becc.

Styloma hillebrandii O.F.Cook

Styloma insignis O.F.Cook

Washingtonia hildebrandii Kuntze

Last Updated May 2014

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