A Silversword in full bloom catches the last rays of a heavenly Haleakala sunset. The sun radiates the fine bristling hair edges of the delicate plant, making them glow pink in contrast to its otherwise green and silver dress.
The Haleakala Silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum) is exceedingly rare. In Hawaiian the plant is called “ʻāhinahina,” which literally means, “very gray.” There are other Hawaiian Silverswords that grow throughout the islands at higher elevations, but the Haleakala Silversword can only be found between about 7,000 and 10,000 feet high up in Haleakala National Park.
While a fairly delicate plant, the Silversword withstands harsh conditions of drought, exposure to high winds and full sun, and freezing temperatures. Fighting these conditions, it can survive up to 50 years of mountain top sunsets like this one.