“ʻŌheuheu ka Lau o ka ʻĀhinahina”


ʻŌheuheu ka lau o ka ʻāhinahina, ua pulu i ke kēhau; The fuzzy leaves of the silversword, moistened by the mist.

To encounter ʻāhinahina (Silversword, Argyroxiphium sandwicense) on stark cindered mountain heights of Maunakea or Haleakalā is to be dazzled. Leaves are covered with fine hairs as protection from harsh unfiltered ultraviolet rays and sunlight, and when dew collects on them, fine droplets glitter.

They grow slowly, bloom once with many flowers on spectacularly tall stalks, then die. Sheep and goats have destroyed too many ʻāhinahina, so conservation efforts such as hunting, fencing, propagation and out-planting, are critical for the survival of these precious endangered plants.