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Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum


The Haleakala silversword is a remarkable plant that grows on the highest reaches of this extinct volcano. It is named for its leaves covered with shiny hairs. Not only do these hairs insulate the leaves in the harsh temperature, but they reflect sunlight. The structure of the plant and its leaves focuses the reflected sunlight to the center where the tender shoot tip needs to stay warm. The convergence of light can raise the temperature 36 degrees F (20 degrees C) above the surrounding environment. This plant can live longer than 50 years, and only flowers once in its life.


These plants grow on the barren cinder slopes of Haleakala. This one was at an altitude of around 10,000 feet. It is very windy and cold, but there are clouds providing moisture.


I saw several dead plants that had flowered, many live plants, and one or two small plants sending up flower stalks.

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Awesome series and great info,congrats on the well deserved SOTD and thanks for sharing

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 2 years ago

Great spotting! Congrats.

Graham Monroe
Graham Monroe 2 years ago

Thanks so much! That is awesome!

KostasZontanos 2 years ago

Congratiulations Graham!

DanielePralong 2 years ago

Congratulations Graham, this remarkable plant is our Spotting of the Day!



Graham Monroe
Graham Monroe 2 years ago

Thanks! Yes it is a beautiful plant. Really unique.

Pizza97 2 years ago

I wish I had this in my yard!

DanielePralong 2 years ago

Great spotting and interesting notes Graham!

Graham Monroe
Spotted by
Graham Monroe

Hawaii, USA

Lat: 20.71, Long: -156.25

Spotted on Jul 11, 2017
Submitted on Jul 12, 2017

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