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PRITCHARDIA Seem & Wendl 1862
A genus of 27 species of fan palms originating in Pacific Islands. The type is P. pacifica, [Fiji] and the genus was named in honour of W. T Pritchard, a British Consul in Fiji in the 19th Century. The first comprehensive work covering the genus was the monograph Pritchardia, Beccari and Rock, 1921, but a lack of precision and ignorance of the degree of variation within the species in this and other early work lead to over description. A subsequent treatment in The Plants of Hawaii rationalises some of the species, particularly P. martii and P. remota. However, new Pritchardia species are still being found and described as recently as 2004 (P. flynii) and 1998 (P. perlmannii) both from Kauai.
Pritchardia are erect, solitary medium sized unarmed monoecious fan palms up to 40 metres tall, (such as P. schattaueri) with trunks up to 200mm thick (P. waialealeana ) Leaves are costapalmate, with blades regularly divided into bifid ended reduplicate segments. The leaves are variously covered with lepidia or felty scales on the underside of the leaves and extending onto the petiole. These felty scales may appear tan, yellow or white and the distribution of the scales varies with species and this characteristic is a significant indicator of the species.
The inflorescences are intrafoliar in most species, but notably extend well beyond the canopy in a number of species (P. thurstonii, P. kaalae and P. hardyi ). The fruit vary from 7mm spherical shape (P. thurstonii) to 50x 40 mm ovoid shape (P. loweryana).
Species Identification Problems:
A palm may be easily recognisable as a Pritchardia but the species are variable and also prone to hybridisation when grown in company with cogeners and for this reason identification of any given plant away from its original habitat may be difficult. Care should be exercised when seed is collected. In the interests of species purity, seed should not be collected from arboreta.
Of the 22 Hawaiian species, the following 8 are on the Federal Endangered species list: P. affinis, aylmer-robinsonii, kaalae, munroi, napaliensis, remota, schattaueri, viscosa.
Non Hawaian Species:
Of the currently recognised species, the following 5 occur outside the Hawaiian islands, they are P. pacifica, thurstonii, mitiaroana, pericularum, vuylstekeana.
Reduction Of Beccari & Rock Species:
33 species were included in Beccari and Rock 1921. As of 2004, the following species included in Beccari and Rock have been described as synonymous as follows:
P. loweryana == P. brevicalyx == P. macrocarpa == P. donata
P. lanigera == P. montis-kea == P. eriostachya
P. minor == P. eriophora
P. martii == P. kahanae == P. martiodes == P. gaudichaudii == P. rockiana == P. kahukuensis == P. kamapuaana == P. mcdanielsii
P. hillebrandii == P. insignis
P. vuylstekeana == P. moensi
P. wrightii has been transferred to Colpothrinax wrightii
P. Hardyi == P. weissichiana
P. aurea and P. elliptica remain unsubstantiated.
Descriptions After Beccario And Rock:
Since Beccari and Rock was published in 1921 14 descriptions have been published :
P. donata Rock, 1930. Since merged with P. loweryana.
P. elliptica Rock & Caum, 1930. Unplaced name.
P. kahukuensis Caum, 1930. Since merged with P. martii.
P. kamapuaana Caum, 1930. Since merged with P. martii.
P. mcdanielsii Caum, 1930. Since merged with P. martii.
P. aylmer-robinsonii, H. St John, 1959, Niihau, said to be part of the P. remota complex.
P. weissichiana Rock, 1962. Since merged with P. hardyi.
P. mitiaroana J. Dransfield & Y Ehrh, 1995, from plants found on Mitiaro island in the Cook Islands.
P. napaliensis H. St John, 1981, Kauai. Said to be part of the P. remota complex.
P.schattaueri Hodel, 1985 Hawaii.
P. waialealeana Read 1988 Kauai.
P. limahuliensis H. St John, 1988, Kauai.
P. perlmanii Gemmill, 1998 Kauai.
P. flynii Lorence & Gemmill, 2004 Kauai.
Plants Of Hawaii:
In The Plants of Hawaii, a number of species have been tentatively included in "the Pritchardia remota complex" they are: P. remota, napaliensis, aylmer-robinsonii , napaliensis, glabrata.
P. aurea has not been placed. Type material in Berlin has presumably been lost.
P. maideniana appears to be a distinct species, but the original habitat is unknown.
P. elliptica has not been placed.
P. woodfordiana is said to be a naturalised stand of P. pacifica growing in the Solomon islands. It is not a unique species.
Chris King, January 2005.
[http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Pritchardia+Overview %22&num=10&sa=Google+Search Google], [http://images.google.com/images?q=%22Pritchardia+Overview %22&hl=en&btnG=Google+Search Google Images], [http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Pritchardia+Overview
[http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Pritchardia+Overview %22%20site:http://forum.pacsoa.org.au/&sa=Google+Search PACSOA Forums], [http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Pritchardia+Overview %22%20site:http://www.palmtalk.org/&sa=Google+Search PalmTalk]