Thurstons Fan Palm,
Lau Fan Palm
Distribution & Habitat:
Lau group in the Fiji islands, introduced on other pacific islands.
Tropical, on coralline limestone sands, subject to salt atmosphere and soils.
Similar to P. pacifica but smaller, P. thurstonii is an attractive, solitary fan palm 4-5m tall, with a trunk up to 15cm in diameter. Leaves are up to 1.8m long and almost as wide, the leaf blade is waxy glaucous on both upper and lower surfaces (Figure 3), with small elliptical scales underneath. Spadices are longer than the crown and arch out and down when a mass of heavy fruit develops in a head sized clump at the end. The spherical fruit is 7 mm in diameter, turning red then black at maturity (Figure 5). The seed is 4mm in diameter.
Figure 1. P. thurstonii
One of the few Pritchardias with inflorescences which extend beyond the crown. The others are: P.hardyi [Kauai] and P. kaalae . [Oahu]
In cultivation, sunny, moist, but well drained position. Prefers tropical conditions, and is said to be tolerant of alkaline soils and coastal conditions. Germinates in 2-4 weeks, and grows fast as a seedling.
Figure 2. Looking into the crown of P. thurstonii
Figure 3. P. thurstonii leaf detail and inflorescence.
Figure 4. P. thurstonii infructescence
Figure 5. P. thurstonii infructescence close-up
Reference: 1. Pritchardia thurstonii, F. Muell. & Drude , Beccari and Rock, Pritchardia, 1921
Contributed by: Chris King (Text) Allan Bredeson (Figure 1). Melany Chapin (Figure 2&3). Greg Roulinavage (Figure 4&5).
For further information try VPE PALM