Abstract

Lava flows at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on the island of Hawai'i contain tree molds identified as native loulu (Pritchardia sp.) palms on the basis of gross morphology and surface features and patternings. The vegetation is reconstructed as loulu forest with an admixture of dicot species, represented by branched molds. Occurrence of loulu forest at ∼1000 b.p. (calibrated radiocarbon dates on charcoal from beneath the flow) suggests that these palms persisted into the early period of Polynesian settlement on the Kona coast and that Pritchardia was an important component of precontact vegetation in this area.

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