SILVERSWORD

by Shaun Ritter, 5th grade

The only place on earth Silverswords grow are on the slopes of Haleakala on the island of Maui. They once grew in such mass quantities that for sport, people would uproot them and roll them down the slopes.

Silverswords usually have about five hundred bobbing flower heads. They also have silvery leaves that look like swords. That's where they get their name. The Silverswords flower best in July. The silver hairs on the leaves reflect the intense sunlight. In the leaves there is a type of gel that can catch and store water for dry seasons. The life span of a silversword is from five to fifteen years. After flowering, the plant dies. Before there were any goats in Hawaii, Silverswords dotted the summit of Haleakala. Now there are a few left. People are now trying to save the Silversword from extinction. Hopefully they will survive!


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