The silverswords of Hawaii are highly endangered flowering plants endemic to the region. The silversword evolved to survive in extraordinarily harsh subalpine conditions where virtually no other plants can grow.
This stunning and rare plant can be found on the cinder slopes of the crater at Haleakala National Park on Maui and in the high deserts of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island.
Silverswords survive at altitudes of 5,000-10,000 feet where humidity is virtually zero and night temperatures fall below freezing. They live from 15 to 50 years but bloom just once and then die. Flowering occurs mostly from mid-June to November.
A large-scale introduction of greenhouse-grown seedlings has raised hopes for the recovery of these spectacular endemic species.