- ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi: Loulu
- Scientific: Pritchardia martii
- NatureServe Heritage Rank G1 – Critically Imperiled
- Federal and State Listed as Endangered
- IUCN Red List Ranking – Critically Endangered (CR D)
- Plant Extinction Prevention Program Target
Loulu is endemic to Hawaii, O’ahu in particular, and is part of the Arecaceae family. Loulu are single trunked palm trees with fan-shaped leaves. Loulu generally grow to about 30 ft in height. The flower stalks grow past the ends of the leaves and the fruit is about 2 in long (“Pritchardia Spp,” n.d.). Its orbicular and wedge-shaped, hairless leaf blades are green on the upper surface and pale green on the lower surface, with a few yellow scales. Pale, long, soft, tangled hairs extend along the fan-like folds of the leaf segments to the leafstalk. The fruit is brown to black, almost round and 2.3 cm (0.9 in) in diameter (“Loulu (Pritchardia Maideniana,” n.d.). Loulu is used to treat ‘ea and pa‘ao‘ao in children and adults. The leaf bud and inner flesh are combined with niu, kō kea, ‘ōhi‘a bark and ‘ala‘alawainui pehu. “Loulu palm were erected to signify a temporary, special ‘heiau loulu’, where gods of fishing were seasonally propitiated” (“Loulu, Loulu Hiwa (P. Martii)”, n.d.)
Loulu is found in O’ahu in the Ko’olau Mountains and southern Wai’anae Mountains from about 300 to 600 m (1000 to 2000 ft) elevation. It can also be found on Hawai’i Island.
Habitat is in coastal areas of Hawai’i Island near brackish ponds near sea level up into dry and moist forest up to 7,545 m (2300 ft) elevation.
- Consumption of fruits by rats
- Competition with alien invasive plants
- Trampling by feral pigs
Plans & Projects
References & Additional Resources
“Pritchardia Spp.” Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database, College of Tropical Agriculture and Natural Resources: University of Hawaii at Manoa, https://www2.hawaii.edu/~eherring/hawnprop/pri-spp.htm.
“Loulu (Pritchardia Maideniana).” ECOS, https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp/species/4945.
“Loulu, Loulu Hiwa (P. Martii).” Bishop Museum – Ethnobotany Database, https://data.bishopmuseum.org/ethnobotanydb/ethnobotany.php?b=d&ID=loulu.