November 21, 2014
On the island of Maui, Hawaii, it's common for tourists to travel to the top of the dormant volcano, Haleakala, to see the sunrise at 10,000 ft (3,000 m) above sea level. It's much less common to see the Haleakala Silversword in full bloom. On this particular trip to the summit in September 2013, there were several of these spectacular plants displaying different stages of bloom. A park ranger at Haleakala National Park expressed both excitement and a hesitation for that excitement, since the rare and beautiful blooms meant the final show for these Silverswords, some living decades before this moment. This threatened plant grows only on the island of Maui at elevations above 6,900 ft (2,100 m) and blooms just before seeding and dying – a monocarpic plant. The Silversword can live between 3 and 90 years or more and can grow more than 6 ft (2 m) tall.
Photo details: Top - Camera Maker: Panasonic; Camera Model: DMC-TZ5; Focal Length: 4.7mm (35mm equivalent: 28mm); Aperture: f/3.3; Exposure Time: 0.0013 s (1/800); ISO e quiv: 160; Software: QuickTime 7.6.6. Bottom - same except: Focal Length: 12.2mm (35mm equivalent: 72mm); Aperture: f/4.6; Exposure Time: 0.0016 s (1/640); ISO equiv: 100.