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Flora and Fauna

Haleakala is one of few homes to the rare ahinahina (silversword plant). The plant's brilliant silver leaves are stunning against the red lava rock that blankets the walls of Haleakala's caldera—particularly during blooming season from July to September. A distant cousin of the sunflower, the silversword blooms just once before it dies—producing a single towering stalk awash in tiny fragrant blossoms. Also calling Haleakala home are a few hundred nene, the Hawaiian state bird (related to the Canada goose), currently fighting its way back from near extinction. Maui is the best Hawaiian island for whale-watching, and migrating humpbacks can be seen off the island's coast from December to April, and sometimes into May.

Updated: 2014-06-23

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Fodor's Maui 2015

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