Pritchardia viscosa

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Figure 1. P. viscosa in habitat.


Common Names:

Stickybud Pritchardia

Conservation Status:

This palm is rare and endangered and on the Federal Endangered species list. Only a few palms exist in habitat.

Distribution & Habitat:

Growing near the Pole Line Trail,  Kauai at around 400-700 metres elevation,


Small to medium palms 6-8 metres high, with a trunk to 45cm in diameter, very large stiff leaves around 1 metres long, smooth on the top surface, with a dense grey felt covering the lower surface (Figure 2) at the base of the leaf. The fruit is ellipsoid approx 40 x 25 mm, the seed is ovoid, with an acute tip and measures approximately 30 mm long and 18 wide (Figure 4).


A distinct species which grows in close proximity to P.waialealeana and P. hardyi, but has quite distinct characteristics, including the viscose inflorescence and quite large fruit and seeds.


This palm has been cultivated.

Figure 2. P. viscosa in cultivation.
Figure 3. P. viscosa infructescence.
Figure 4. P. viscosa seeds

Citation in the Federal Register: January 28, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 18) Pritchardia viscosa (loulu) Pritchardia viscosa, a member of the palm family (Arecaceae), is a small tree 3 to 8 m (10 to 26 ft) tall. This species differs from others of the genus that grow on Kauai by the degree of hairiness of the lower surface of the leaves and main axis of the flower cluster, and length of the flower cluster (Read and Hodel 1999). Historically, Pritchardia viscosa was known only from a 1920 collection from Kalihiwai Valley. It was not seen again until 1987, when Robert Read observed it in the same general area as the type locality, off the Powerline Road at 512 m (1,680 ft) elevation (HINHP Database 2000). Currently, there is one population with three individuals on State-owned land within the Halelea Forest Reserve (61 FR 53070; HINHP Database 2000; GDSI 2000). This species is found in Metrosideros polymorpha - Dicranopteris linearis lowland wet forest at elevations between 488 to 518 m (1,600 to 1,700 ft). Associated native species include Antidesma spp., Bobea spp., Cibotium spp., Cyanea fissa, Cyrtandra kauaiensis, Cyrtandra longiflora, Dubautia knudsenii, Nothocestrum spp., Perrottetia sandwicensis, Psychotria spp., Sadleria pallida, or Syzygium sandwicensis (Service 1998a; 61 FR 53070). Pritchardia viscosa is threatened by Psidium cattleianum and non-native grasses, such as Paspalum conjugatum; and seed predation by rats. At least one of the remaining mature trees has been damaged by spiked boots used either by a botanist or seed collector to scale the tree. In mid-1996, a young plant and seeds from mature Pritchardia viscosa plants were removed from the only known location of this species. Because of this past activity, it is reasonable to assume that these plants are threatened by over-collection and vandalism. Also, because of the small numbers of individuals in the only known population, this species is susceptible to extinction since a single naturally occurring event (e.g., a hurricane) could destroy all remaining plants (61 FR 53070; C. Koga, in litt. 1999; A. Kyono, pers. comm., 2000).


ritchardia viscosa Rock. Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. & Sohmer, S.H. (1990) Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawaii Vol. 1-2. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. Beccari and Rock, Pritchardia 1921 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Determinations of Prudency and Proposed Designations of Critical Habitat for Plant Species From the Islands of Kauai and Niihau, Hawaii   Federal Register: January 28, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 18)

Contributed by:

Chris King (Text).
Melany Chapin (Figure 1,3&4).
Mike Merritt (Figure 2).

External Links:

Kew, PalmWeb, IUCN, JSTOR, Trebrown

Google, Google Images, Flickr, PACSOA Forums, PalmTalk