Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. sandwicense 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Asterales Compositae

Scientific Name: Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. sandwicense
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Mauna Kea Silversword
Taxonomic Source(s): Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. and Lorence, D.H. 2005 onwards. Flora of the Hawaiian Islands website. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Bruegmann, M.M. & Caraway, V.
Reviewer(s): Maunder, M. (Plant Conservation Committee) & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Red List Programme Office)
The wild population comprises less than 50 mature individuals and all are confined to a single subpopulation.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Argyroxiphium sandwicense ssp.macrocephalum is endemic to the upper slopes of Mauna Kea on Hawaii. It appears to have been formerly abundant. Today, however, there is only a single naturally occurring population which comprises about 41 naturally occurring plants. Plants have been outplanted at several sites on Mauna Kea. These outplanted individuals and their progeny number almost 4,000 individuals, but these do not yet qualify to be counted as mature individuals.
Countries occurrence:
United States (Hawaiian Is.)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:These rosette shrubs are usually single-stemmed and rarely branched. A single-stemmed individual lives for a number of years (15–50), produces a terminal inflorescence, then dies (monocarpic). Plants with multiple rosettes produce one inflorescence for each rosette; flowering may occur over several years before all rosettes are exhausted.

Occurs in dry alpine desert; occasionally also in dry to moist subalpine shrublands and forests. Found on cinder cone slopes, cinder fields, lava flows, in rocky gulches, and on cliffs.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Browsing by feral sheep (including mouflon sheep) has been implicated as a major factor contributing to the decline of this taxon. Feral goats and pigs have also harmed the taxon. Other threats include predation of native pollinators by alien wasps and ants (the species is self-incompatible and relies on insect pollination), overcollection, and in the case of this subspecies, its small population size.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed as Endangered under the US Endangered Species Act and the Global Heritage Status Rank is G2T1.

Citation: Bruegmann, M.M. & Caraway, V. 2003. Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. sandwicense. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2003: e.T44158A10865313. . Downloaded on 26 June 2017.
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