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Excerpts from
Recovery Plan for the Mauna Kea Silversword
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1993

In a 1971 Hawai’i Tribune Herald article, Kaichi Nishimoto remembered his 1921 trip to the Wailuku Gulch (or perhaps the Waipahoehoe Gulch) to gather silverswords. Article states "Nishimoto has recalled that silverswords were very plentiful during those early days as they grew on flats and steep banks. "There must have been thousands of plants," Nishimoto told [state forester] Pung."

"On the way down [from Lake Waiau] we stop to see a few patches of silversword. There are only a few remaining of this strange looking plant on Mauna Kea." L. W. Bryan, Territorial Forester

west slope: "only dead plants observed." (Skottsberg)

northwest slope: many dead stalks of silverswords were seen (Hartt and Neal, 1940)

Mr. Higashi said that he saw a dozen silverswords in the gulch near the adze quarry. He pulled one plant with multiple rosettes off the cliff wall.

“The only plant of Argyroxiphium sandwicense was growing upon a rocky shelf in a position well protected from grazing animals..." [Hartt and Neal]

"State forester Ernest Pung of Hilo says there are about 100 plants on Mauna Kea; about 30 or 40 of them full-sized. Others younger and smaller."

A .9 hectare enclosure was built to keep out sheep, study revegetation and plant silversword. Achenes were collected from three silversword plants in 1973. Two greenhouse grown plants were planted in enclosure. One survived. In Dec. 1973, 46 plants were planted. All died during the winter.

silversword seed germinated and plants were greenhouse grown at Volcanoes National Park. More successful. All ten plants planted survived to date (1976)
20-hectare exclosure built at Waipahoehoe gulch, protecting 20 plants. Mouflon sheep entered exclosure site. 275 plants planted, half destroyed by mouflon.

DLNR reported that between 150 to 200 silverswords had been reestablished at Waipahoehoe.

Waipahoehoe Gulch: "only 35 plants were counted in 1978."

50 plants planted in two 2-hectare exclosures built on west slope near Pu‘u Nanaha (9086 feet) and near Skyline jeep trail (9742 feet).

Efforts to propagate and outplant resulted in 34 % survival.

Hale Pohaku area, 7 silverswords


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