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.