Pritchardia Seem. & H.Wendl., Bonplandia (Hannover) 10: 197 (1862)

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Map uses TDWG level 3 distributions (
Cook Is.present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Hawaiipresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Marquesaspresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Marshall Is.present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Samoapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Society Is.present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Solomon Is.present (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Tongapresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Trinidad-Tobagopresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Tuamotupresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
Vanuatupresent (World Checklist of Arecaceae)B
About 27 recognised species from Fiji, Tonga, Danger Islands and Hawaii. All but five species are Hawaiian endemics; many are extremely rare and endangered, or not seen in the wild for several years. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A



Biology And Ecology


  • Moderate, solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, hermaphroditic tree palms. Stem erect, sometimes deeply striate, ringed with close leaf scars. Leaves induplicate, costapalmate, marcescent in immature acaulescent individuals, deciduous in trunked individuals; sheath tomentose, soon disintegrating into a mass of fibres; petiole elongate, flattened or channelled adaxially, abaxially rounded or angular, extending into the costa without interruption, usually tomentose; adaxial hastula a ridge with a central point, abaxial hastula absent; blade divided to ca. 1/3 to 1/2 its radius along adaxial folds into single-fold segments, further shallowly divided along abaxial folds, interfold filaments often present, segments stiff, held in 1 plane or variously pendulous, surfaces similar or more distinctly glaucous abaxially, usually copiously tomentose along ribs, frequently with small scales on abaxial surface, transverse veinlets conspicuous or obscure. Inflorescences interfoliar, solitary or 2–4 together in each axil, sheathed by a common prophyll, branched to 3 orders; peduncle conspicuous, stiff, ± erect to pendulous, shorter or longer than the leaves; prophyll tubular, 2-keeled, closely sheathing, densely tomentose, sometimes disintegrating into a weft of fibres; peduncular bracts several, similar to the prophyll, tending to split along one side, irregularly tattering, sometimes inflated, adaxially glabrous, densely tomentose abaxially, rarely becoming glabrous; rachis much shorter than the peduncle; rachillae straight, curved or somewhat zigzag, tending to be crowded forming a head of flowers, glabrous or sparsely to densely hairy, bearing spirally arranged, minute bracts subtending solitary flowers. Flowers sessile or borne on very low tubercles, floral bracteoles apparently absent; calyx tubular, shallowly 3-lobed distally, rather thick and coriaceous; corolla considerably exceeding the calyx, coriaceous, tubular at the base, divided distally into 3 ± elongate valvate lobes, the lobes forming a cap deciduous at anthesis; stamens 6, borne near the mouth of the corolla tube, the filament bases connate to form a conspicuous tube projecting beyond the calyx, with 6 short distinct tips bearing oblong, ± erect, latrorse anthers; gynoecium tricarpellate, the carpels wedge-shaped, distinct in the ovarian region, connate in a common elongate style bearing a minutely 3-lobed stigma, ovule basally attached, anatropous. Pollen ellipsoidal, with slight to obvious asymmetry, occasionally oblate triangular; aperture a distal sulcus, less frequently a trichotomosulcus; ectexine tectate, scabrate, or perforate, aperture margin similar; infratectum columellate; longest axis 38–53 µm [7/27]. Fruit spherical or ovoid, developing from 1 carpel only, bearing apical stigmatic and sterile carpel remains; calyx persistent; epicarp smooth, mesocarp rather thin, fleshy, fibrous, endocarp thin, woody and rather brittle, sometimes thickened at the base. Seed ± spherical, basally or subbasally attached, with rounded hilum, endosperm homogeneous, the seed coat slightly thickened by the hilum but endosperm without conspicuous intrusion of the seed coat; embryo basal. Germination remote-tubular; eophyll entire, lanceolate, plicate. Cytology: 2n = 36, 36 ±2. (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A


Fossil record

  • Leaves: Pritchardites (P. wettinioides) from the Tertiary of Italy (Bureau 1896) was placed in the synonomy of Phoenicites by Read and Hickey (1972). Silicified fruits that, “come very close to some species of Pritchardia and Licuala specially [sic] the latter” (Shete and Kulkarni 1985) are reported from the Indian Deccan Intertrappean, Maharashtra State (although the age span of these volcanic deposits is controversial, see Chapter 5). Numerous records of Pritchardia pollen and seeds are reported from the pre-human Holocene of Kaua’a Island, Hawaii (Burney et al. 2001). Thick-walled monosulcate pollen, with a distinctive narrow infratectum, Palmaepollenites kutchensis, from the Middle Eocene of Central Java (Nanggulan Formation) is compared with pollen of Pritchardia, and with two arecoid genera, Basselinia and Burretiokentia (Harley and Morley 1995). (J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008)A