Let's Not Lose Them
Silversword
-By Rani Iyer

The Mauna Kea silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense ssp. sandwicense), also known as Ahinahina in Hawai`ian, is a giant rosette plant endemic to the alpine areas of Mauna Kea volcano on the island of Hawai`i. Today only 500 individuals of this plant survive in the wild. The fight to save this plant is ongoing from 1909, when the areas with silversword plants were included under protection. Human habitation, and grazing of goats and cattle brought the plant close to extinction. Fencing, out planting, and active monitoring programs are necessary to maintain a viable population.
The silversword is a globe-shaped rosette plant with rigid (swordlike), succulent leaves densely covered by silver hairs. The plant can live up to 50 years, flowering just once before it dies.

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The spectacular flowering stalks of up to 2 m tall, typically bears hundreds of maroon sunflower like flower heads. The greatest threat to the silversword appears to be the potential loss of endemic pollinators because of the invasion of silversword habitat by the Argentine ant (Iridomyrmex humilis). In order to help the species recovery, scientists' hand pollinate the flowers in all populations. Hand pollination is necessary because populations of silversword are fragmented and located at great distances from each other. Nothing is known about its original pollinator, which is suspected to be extinct.
Despite these efforts, we don't know if the silversword can survive in the natural habitat without the aid of a pollinator. Scientists have a long fight in saving this endangered species from extinction.



User's Comments                     
kjdgh
I have researched that the silversword also grow in Haleakala!
Rajesh Raghav
I am living in Uttar Pradesh state. I want to plant sandalwood trees in about 3 acres of land. I want to know what profit will I get after 12 years and to whom I will sell these trees.
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