According to a tantalisingly brief feature in the Honolulu Star Advertiser the rare and endangered ‘ahinahina or Silversword that grows in the Haleakalā National Park in Hawaii is having one its best years for flowering in many years, with an abundance of the plants in full flower.
The ‘ahinahina is a rare and endangered plant which is found no where else in the world, demonstrating the importance of National Parks in preserving biodiversity.
The ‘ahinahina are flowering at the summit of the Kalahaku Overlook and are rewarding hikers on the 4 – 6 mile sliding sands hike with a spectacular sight.
Parks Superintendent explained in a Press Release “A large silversword can produce several thousand viable seeds, which then must take root in the summit’s harsh environment. We hope neighbours and visitors alike will come enjoy this incredible sight.”
The silversword’s primary pollinator is the yellow-faced bee, which is only found in Hawaii. The bee can be observed working the flowers to ensure pollination and so securing a new generation of plants from the abundance of seed that this spectacular flowering will ensure. The production of viable seed is vital as Haleakalā ahinahina is monocarpic, it grows for several years until it reaches maturity, then flowers before it dies. The seeds dropped into this harsh environment then have to germinate and grow to replace the parent plant, which is one of the reasons that the Haleakalā park are keen for hikers to stay on paths, as the young seedlings can very easily be walked on and crushed.
It is worth adding that the park is currently completing a year-long study to determine the effects of climate change on the Haleakala ahinahina.
Those fortunate enough to be visitors of the park can learn more by checking out the greenhouses at the visitor centers at Haleakala.
The image shows a 7 year old plant in flower, more images can be seen on the Haleakala National Park Facebook page, just click on the image to be taken to Hawaii…
(We have taken this image from a post on the Haleakalā National Park Facebook page, should we have inadvertently have breached copywrite please contact us and we will credit the image as requested or reeve it on request.)