Selected Trees and Shrubs
Pritchardia pacifica, Common name: Fiji Fan Palm
Description: One of the most attractive of the Pritchardia palms; is slow growing, solitary, medium-sized, up to 10 m tall (33 ft), though the two aged Gardens specimens might be closer to 15 m (50 ft); trunk erect, tan or gray, up to 30 cm in diameter (12 in); leaves form open canopy, with long leaf-stalks and large, pleated, leaf blades; leaf blades fan shaped, up to 1.2 m in width (3.9 ft), dull green and smooth on both upper and lower surfaces; distal third of leaf divided into 70-90 erect segments with mildly bifid apices (contrasts with long, elegantly drooping, bifid apices of Chinese Fan Palm); leaf stalks 1 m or more long (39 in) with white, scaly bloom on both surfaces; flowers small and inconspicuous, yellow-green, born in spadix inflorescences which are shorter than leaf stalks, 1-4 per leaf axil; fruit small, round, single-seeded drupe, about 10-15 mm diameter (0.4-0.6 in, half the size of the ovoid fruit of the Chinese Fan Palm), turning red then dark brown to black when ripe; peg-like calyx persistent; interestingly, some of these fruits are conjoint twins and triplets.
Plant Family: Belongs to the Arecaceae or Palm family, which includes the Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera), Century Palm(Corypha umbraculifera), West Indian Royal Palm (Roystonea oleracea), and the similar fan-leafed Chinese Fan Palm (Livistonia chinensis).
Natural Habitat: Tropical dry forest; thrives in moderate to full sunlight, on wide range of well-watered soils; propagated by seed, fresh seed germinating in 30 days.
Origin and Distribution: Native to Tonga, and naturalized in Tahiti, Fiji and other South Sea islands; introduced variously in other tropical and subtropical regions as ornamental; considered a host for Lethal Yellowing disease of coconuts and other palms.
Uses: Primarily ornamental, widely grown throughout Pacific tropics; also used in interiorscapes in subtropics; sensitive to cold temperatures and drying winds.
Indigenous Legends: In Fiji, leaves were traditionally used to make special, large, umbrella-fans for chiefs.
Robert A. DeFilipps. Useful Plants of the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 1998
Pritchardia pacifica (Arecaceae). National Tropical Botanic Garden, Kauai, Hawaii, [ntbg.org] December 2008
Chris King. Palms: Pritchardia pacifica. Palm and Cycad Societies of Australia, Queesland, Australia, [pacsoa.org.au] December 2008.
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A Brief History
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Trees, Shrubs, Birds:
Selected Trees and Shrubs
Florida's Fairchild Garden
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