Another Pritchardia palm endemic to the Hawaiian Islands is Pritchardia remota (also known as the “Nihoa Pritchardia” or “Nihoa fan palm”.)
This species is native to the island of Nihoa, also known as Bird Island or Moku Manu, which is is the tallest of ten islands and atolls in the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. In 2006, it became part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
This tree is smaller than most other species of Pritchardia, usually reaching only 13–16 feet tall. it can be discerned from other Pritchardia species by its wavy leaves, its short and hairless inflorescences, and its tiny, spherical fruits.
Nihoa fan palms are the only trees found on Bird Island, and used to be very abundant, but a wildfire in the late 1880’s destroyed most of them.
This palm is listed as endangered, and less than 700 remain on Nihoa. However, numbers are slowly increasing, and Nihoa fan palms are being cultivated in ex-situ botanical collections, including within the Merwin Palm Collection.
The Merwin Palm Collection currently contains three specimens of the Pritchardia remota.
Want to “virtually explore” the Merwin Palm Collection? Search through our archive of Palm Facts of the Week, featuring palms hand-planted by W.S Merwin. To search through the Online Merwin Palm Database, visit this link.
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Photo of Pritchardia remote in its native habitat used courtesy of Peter T. Oboyski, under Wikipeida Commons Attribution License.