Posts tagged ‘hawaii’

May 30, 2012

Haleakalā Silversword

Silverswords live for about 10 to 50 years as a low, round bush [. . .] At the end of their life, they send up a flowering stalk that can grow over 6 feet tall within a few weeks, and produce up to 600 flower heads.

It is found only within a 250 acre area on Mount Haleakala, on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Its habitat is at an elevation of 7000 – 10,000 ft, in soil composed of volcanic cinders.

They have adapted to their cold environment by building themselves a reflector oven. Their leaves are covered with shiny silver hairs, and are curved into a parabolic shape that focuses the warm sunlight on the plant’s growing point. This can raise the temperature of the growing point by up to 40 degrees F.

The Haleakala Silversword is a threatened species. —