Rare silverswords in bloom on Haleakala

A yellow-faced bee pollinates a silversword. (Photo: National Park Service)

Numerous silversword plants, or ahinahina, are in bloom at Haleakala National Park.

The plants, which are found nowhere else on earth, can produce several thousand viable seeds that take root in the summit’s harsh environment, park officials said.

“Long term residents and park staff say this is one of the best years they’ve seen for flowers up here,” said superintendent Natalie Gates. “The easiest thing we can all do to help these threatened plants is to stay on trails so we don’t crush existing roots or new seedlings.”

The park is in the final months of a year-long study to determine possible effects of climate change on the Haleakala ahinahina.

Visitor will also see the yellow-faced bee pollinating the ahinahina. This bee, which is only found in Hawaii, is the primary pollinator of the silversword.

The bee is preyed upon by non-native ants and wasps. Visitors can help protect this bee species from predators by not littering and by picking up trash.

Visitor can see ahinahina in bloom at the summit, at the Kalahaku Overlook, or on four- to six-mile round trip hikes into the summit basin via the Sliding Sands Trail.

Visitors can stop by greenhouses near Headquarters Visitor Center or Haleakala Visitor Center to learn more about this research.

Silverswords bloom along Sliding Sands Trail (Photo:   P. Angelakis)
Silverswords bloom along Sliding Sands Trail (Photo: P. Angelakis)

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