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Silversword

Silversword

The Silversword is found only at Haleakala on Maui — and, as you might guess, is an endangered species. The Hawai`ians called it `ahinahina, meaning "very gray" presumably because of the gray tips of its leaves.

The reason for the Silversword's endangered status is due to grazing by goats plus damage due to humans. Fencing has been added on the slopes of Haleakala which has been relatively successful in keeping out the goats. However, there is still the risk associated with human activity. I recall that during the year that I lived on Maui, there was a newspaper story about a tourist from New York who was caught, having dug up a Silversword plant that he intended to take home with him. Since this plant grows in volcanic cinder rocks, I doubt he could have kept it alive even if he had been able to get it past Agriculture Inspection at the airport. Folks, these are for looking not taking!

When the Silversword matures, it will produce a talk stalk with many maroon ray flowers which resemble the sunflower. After pollination and setting of the seeds, the plant dies.


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ahinahina