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Haleakalâ silversword getting ready to flower

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Haleakalâ silversword getting ready to flower
Haleakalâ silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense macrocephalum) ('âhinahina ("very gray") in Hawaiian)

Belonging to the sunflower family, this plant is endemic to Hawaii. It is only found on the island of Maui in Haleakalâ National Park at an elevation of 2,100 to 3,000 m on the Haleakalâ summit depression, the rim summits, and surrounding slopes of the dormant Haleakalâ volcano. Silversword plants in general grow on volcanic cinder, a dry, rocky substrate that is subject to freezing temperatures and high winds. The skin and hairs are strong enough to resist the wind and freezing temperature of this altitude and protect the plant from dehydration and the sun. They are adaptated to low-nutrient soils.

A rosette-forming shrub will grow 15-50 years before flowering only once (usually in June or July), after which it dies. The flowering stalk can reach up to two meters in height, and may have up to 600 maroon sunflowerlike flower heads. Because they require cross pollination by insects, many plants must flower at the same time in relatively close proximity or they will fail to set seed. A significant population must exist for enough to flower each year for pollination to occur.

Silverswords are highly sensitive to disturbance. The plant was near extinction in the 1920's because of human vandalism and browsing by goats and cattle. Currently listed as a vulnerable species (likely to become endangered) on the IUCN Red List it is at the same time considered a successful conservation story.


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AndinoFunny one !


Voted 10/10

It could look like a hedgehog ;o)
Posted Jul 23, 2007 1:05 pm



Voted 10/10

One of the most amazing plants!
Posted Jul 27, 2007 1:50 am



Voted 10/10

...interesting shot!
Posted Sep 19, 2007 5:47 am

Mark StraubAmazing!

Mark Straub

Voted 10/10

I love the clarity of this photo!
Posted Oct 29, 2007 5:45 pm



Voted 10/10

what an incredible plant!
Posted Mar 4, 2008 10:36 pm

redcell6613Interesting plant


Voted 10/10

Very good info on that plant.
Posted Nov 13, 2009 10:06 am



Voted 10/10

!! Gyönyör? akart lenni...
Posted Jan 6, 2010 8:50 am

EricChuWhat a fantastic plant!


Voted 10/10

I never saw this before - it's of great beauty!
Posted Jan 21, 2010 5:41 pm



Hasn't voted

What an interesting plant! Wish i had seen it when i was there:) Thanks for the great write up about it.
Posted Jun 27, 2011 9:52 am

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Image Data
dmikiSubmitted by dmiki
on Jul 12, 2007 6:12 am

Image ID: 310890
Hits: 5002 
Lat/Lon: 20.71350°N / 156.256°W
Object Title: Haleakalâ silversword getting ready to flower

Image Type(s): Flora