Hawaiian Name(s): loulu, loulu hiwa (P. martii)

Scientific Name: Pritchardia (22 species)

Vernacular Name: native fan palm

Family: Arecaceae

Status: endemic

Authority: P. affinis Becc., P. arecina Becc., P. aylmer-robinsonii H.St.John, P. beccariana Rock, P. flynii Lorence & Gemmill, P. forbesiana Rock, P. glabrata Becc. & Rock, P. hardyi Rock, P. hillebrandii (Kuntze) Becc., P. kaalae Rock, P. lanaiensis Becc. & Rock, P. lanigera Becc., P. limahuliensisH.St.John, P lowreyana Rock, P. martii (Gaudich.) H. A. Wendl., P. minor Becc., P. munroi Rock, P. napaliensis H.St.John, P. perlmanii Gemmill, P. schattaueri Hodel, P. viscosa Rock, P. waialealeana Read

Description: Palms, up to 30 m.

Habitat Most common in mesic to wet forest up to 1220 m. All highly restricted in distribution: P. affinis, P. beccariana, P. schattaurei (Hawai‘i); P. arecina, P. forbesiana, P. glabrata (Maui); P. aylmer-robinsonii (Ni‘ihau); P. hardyi, P. minor, P napaliensis, P. viscosa, P. waialealeana (Kaua‘i); P. hillebrandii, P. lowreyana, P. munroi (Moloka‘i); P. kaalae, P. lanigera, P. martii (O‘ahu); P. remota (Nihoa) (Wagner et al. 1990:1364–1375)

Medicines: Loulu is used to treat ‘ea and pa‘ao‘ao in children and adults. The leaf bud and inner flesh are combined with niu (coconut, Cocos nucifera), kō kea (white sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum), ‘ōhi‘a bark (Metrosideros spp.) and ‘ala‘alawainui pehu (Peperomia spp). All of the items are pounded into a liquid form and drunk three times a day (Chun 1994:196-197).

Non Medicinal Uses: Loulu palm were erected to signify a temporary, special 'heiau loulu', where gods of fishing were seasonally propitiated (Abbott 1992:17). one of the most elegant fans known from the Hawaiian Islands is thought to have been made partly from the loulu palm fronds. In the Ethnology Collection at Bishop Museum there is a hat that is likely made from loulu as well.

Specific gravity of wood: unknown

Famous Locations:


`Ōlelo Noeau:

Dye Color and Parts:

Kino lau:

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus:

Propagation Information: Easy. Mature seeds buried half way in pot of clean, well drained potting soil, water daily, sprout in a few months, plants of 1 foot can be put in ground/larger pot; if many species are grown in same vicinity seeds become hybridized- handpollinate to prevent this (Culliney and Koebele 1999:101–103 [P. remota]; Bornhorst 1996:64–65; Nagata 1992).
Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database.
Native Plants Hawaii.

Seed: Seed length approximately 45-55 mm. Photograph: H.Lennstrom. Species: P. martii.
Click for image