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Friday, April 22, 2011

Foto Friday: Guessing Game II

Here's another guessing game. Do you know what this is?

No, it is not a sea anemone, nor the hideous looming mouth parts of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal. Here's another hint.

Good guess! But it happens not to be Don King buried up to his neck in sand. No, it instead...


Beware the Silversword Alliance!

Haleakala silverswords like these are found exclusively on -- prepare yourself -- Haleakala. These particular specimens were found in the parking lot of the viewing area at the summit of Haleakala. They are endangered, and the rangers take a dim view of disturbing them. Try not to breathe on them. These pictures are probably illegal, so don't look at them too hard.

As those of us (like me) who have researched this topic for many seconds know, silverswords are part of the "silversword alliance", a linked group of plants which show adaptation to various conditions in Hawaii. They (apparently) are related to continental plants poetically known as "tarweeds".

Here's a website (freshly updated in '03) with more pics, including one of men pondering "the sticky exudates of Dubautia sherffiana." We are all about the sticky exudates here.

Frankly, I don't see how you can not see that the silverswords are actually aliens. Look at them in the last photo. They are plotting something. They probably move at night, and giggle when no one notices.

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