Pritchardia sp. nov. 'Laysan'

Laysan fan palm



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status

Extinct if distinct (Christophersen & Caum, 1931:13)

Last record: 1891 (Munro, 1930:688)


See Christophersen & Caum (1931:12-13) for a detailed account of most reported historical encounters with the unknown Pritchardia palm on Laysan. Not recorded alive by Hugo Hermann Schauinsland in 1896, who only found stumps and roots (Schauinsland, 1899 [1996] fide Christophersen & Caum, 1931:12).



Laysan, Hawaiian Islands, USA


Biology & Ecology







At least four photos of living Laysan fan palms (Pritchardia sp. nov.) are known (Rothschild, 1893-1900; Christophersen & Caum, 1931:13; Athens et al., 2007:26). Two of which are reproduced below:


Above: the last two Laysan fan palms from a former grove (including dead trunks). Photographer unknown, but taken 1891-1896. Published in (Christophersen & Caum, 1931:pl.6B).


Above: a Laysan fan palm photographed between 1891-1893. Photographer unknown. Published in (Athens et al., 2007:26). Source: Wikimedia Commons.



Athens, John Stephen, Ward, James V. and Blinn, Dean W. (2007). Vegetation History of Laysan Island, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Pacific Science 61(1): 17-37.

Brooks, N. C. (1859). Cruise of the "Gambia," Capt. N. C. Brooks. The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 11 August, 1859.

Christophersen, Erling and Caum, Edward Leonard. (1931). Vascular Plants of the Leeward Islands, Hawaii. Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin 81: 1-41, 16 pls.

Clapp, Roger B., Udvardy, Miklos D. F. and Kepler, Angela Kay. (1996). An annotated bibliography of Laysan Island, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 434: 1-92.

Beccari, Odoardo and Rock, Joseph Francis. (1921). A Monographic Study of the Genus Pritchardia. Memoirs of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum 8(1): 3-77, xxiv pls.

Flint, Elizabeth Nell and Rehkemper, C. (2002). Control and eradication of the introduced grass, Cenchrus echinatus, at Laysan Island, Central Pacific Ocean, pp. 110-115 [114]. In: Veitch, C. R. and Clout, M. N. (eds.). Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Kittlitz, F. H. von. (1834). Nachricht von den Brüteplätzen einiger tropischen Seevögel im Stillen Ocean: Mus. Senckenb. 1: 113-126.

Lamoureux, Charles H. (1963). The flora and vegetation of Laysan Island. Atoll Research Bulletein. Washington, D.C.: The Pacific Science Board. 97.

Munro, G. C. (1930). Myriad-nested Laysan. Asia 30: 686-689.

Paty, John. (1857). Journal of a voyage in the schooner Manuokawai in April and May 1857. Manuscript in Public Archives, Honolulu.

Prebble, Matthew and Dowe, John L. (2008). The late Quaternary decline and extinction of palms on Pacific islands. Quaternary Science Reviews 27(27-28): 2546-2567.

Rock, J. F. (1913). The indigenous trees of the Hawaiian islands. Honolulu.

Rothschild, Walter. (1893-1900). The Avifauna of Laysan and the neighbouring islands, pts. 1, 2, and 3. London.

Schauinsland, Hugo Hermann. (1899). Drei Monate auf einer Koralleninsel [Laysan]. Bremen.

Schauinsland, Hugo Hermann. (1996). Three months on a coral island (Laysan) [1899]. Translated by Miklos D.F. Udvardy. Atoll Research Bulletin 432: 1-53.


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