“This loop visits a natural garden where the unique and rare silversword plants abound.”
— Megan W
Features: Views — Wildflowers
Dogs: No Dogs
Take this short detour from the Halemau'u Trail
for your chance to see a large number of the extraordinary silversword plants concentrated in one place. One of the world's rarest plants, silverwords only grow in a few locations on Hawaii and only between 6,000-10,000 ft in elevation. The silversword is a relative of the common sunflower - which makes more sense when you see it in bloom. This nearly flat loop does not add any distance to the regular Halemau'u Trail
, so there is no downside to a visit. Stay on the trail to avoid damaging these endangered plants, their roots, or the fragile cryptobiotic soil crust.
Flora & Fauna
The silvery hairs, fleshy leaves, and low-growing rosette form of the Haleakala silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum) allow it to survive in hot, dry climates like the aeolian desert cinder slopes of the Haleakala crater. Silverswords live between 3 and 90 years or more. They flower once, sending up a spectacular flowering stalk, and then die soon afterward, scattering drying seeds to the wind.