Premna sp. ‘Rapa Nui’

Rapa Nui Headache Tree (Premna sp.)

The Headache Tree (Premna serratifolia L.) is a Indopacific species, that means it is widely distributed all along the Indian – as well as the Pacific Ocean including the Pitcairn Islands, the region closest to Rapa Nui, mainly occurs in littoral forests. Thus, it is quite possible that this particular species also inhabited Rapa Nui.

However, the genus has apparently also given rise to at least one endemic species in the Polynesian region, the Avaro (Premna tahitensis Schauer), which is either an endemic Tahitian species or simply a synonym of the other widespread species, a revision of the taxonomy of this genus is still pending.


The Rapa Nui form is known from charcoal remains, it might have been identical to the widespread form or might have been an endemic one, now extinct. [1]



[1] Terry L. Hunt: Rethinking Easter Island’s ecological catastrophe. Journal of Archaeological Science 34: 485-502. 2007


edited: 22.06.2020