A rare glimpse of the flowering Haleakala Silversword reminds us that many things in life are worth waiting for. Taking years to reach maturity, these Silverswords create stalks of flowers up to six feet high when ready. They live in a harsh environment on the island of Maui several thousand feet above sea level where it is cold, windy, dry. A cousin of this, called the Mauna Kea Silversword lives on the neighboring island of Hawaii and is considered a sub-species. Climate change may now present a new threat to these charismatic plants. Hotter temperatures and lower rainfall may threaten even the hardy silversword. Researchers with the University of Hawai'i are actively working with park staff to evaluate the effects of drought conditions on silverswords, and preserve these unique plants for generations to come.

Native location

United States. National Park Service. "Haleakala Silverswords." National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, 10 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.