The Ahinahina (Haleakala Silversword) is an endemic plant to the volcanic mountainside of Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii. Here, and only here, is where it thrives, it grows on the summit slopes in a harsh rocky environment of extreme cold and high winds. How it got to be there is not really known, but the most logical and believable theory is that it evolved from a ‘California Tarweed’ that was possibly dropped as a seed by birds millions of years ago.
Although in the late 1800’s there were reports of ‘thousands’ of Silverswords on the volcano’s slopes, today there are only a few – they are an endangered species and highly protected. If the park which they call home had no fence the surviving plants would be demolished by goats, feral pigs and cattle, but the fences cannot keep out the flying insects such as yellow jackets and Argentinian ants that prey on the plant’s pollinators – the yellow faced bee. Without these tiny bees the plant’s survival would be all but over.