The Plant That Blooms Once In Its Lifetime


In Hawaii’s Haleakala National Park and the Big Island’s Mauna Kea region grows a plant that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The argyroxiphium sandwicense — commonly referred to as the silversword — blooms just once in its life. In fact, it blooms right before the end of its life. On average, the plant grows for 12 years and blooming season is between June and November. The blossom is a single spike that can grow up to 6 feet tall and contain an average of 600 individual purple flowers. The plants leaves have a heat-reflective fur of white hairs that protect it from the sun. The scientific name argyroxiphium comes from the word “Argyro” which means silver and “xiphium” which means sword. The Hawaiian name of the silversword plant is “ahinahina — which literally means gray gray.