After spending my fair share of time perusing the selection of books at the goodwill, I found something very interesting in the toy aisle of all places. Inside of a small, damaged, partially opened cardboard box was an opaque plastic bag with seemingly just a dried up ball of moss inside. It was labeled as a "dinosaur plant," capable of coming back from the (seemingly) dead. It was late when we got back so I decided to unbox it the next today. Today is that day.
I was able to find a lot of information on this plant. It has many names including resurrection plant, spikemoss, but I like "the false rose of Jericho". Its scientific name is Selaginella lepidophylla. This plant thrives in the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico and also the southwestern United States where it will curl up into a dry ball if it doesn't receive adequate water. It then gets blown by the desert winds until it reaches a new watering hole, where it can unfurl itself and settle down again. Several sources claimed that this plant lacks proper roots but I observed what appears to be a rudimentary root system.
Another interesting fact about this plant is that it does not need soil to survive. All I did was fill a small bowl (with no drainage holes) with small rocks and add water to just barely submerge the stones.
The water must be either distilled or rainwater. If all you have is tap then just leave some water sitting overnight or for a full day to let the chemicals disperse.
Next, I set the little ball on top of the stones so that only the rootlets were submerged. All that's left to do is wait. This is the moment of truth, or should I say the hours of truth? It takes up to 4 hours for the plant to fully come out of dormancy. It can stay in the dormant state without water for up to 7 years!
After less than half an hour, the outermost branches already begin to unfurl!
Here it is 1 full hour after "planting".
And now 2 hours after its initial drink!
After 3.5 hours, all but the very tips of the branches have unfurled. It was a priveledge to witness the entire transition. Hopefully by tomorrow it won't have any more brown and will be fully green!
In the future, I will make cuttings to propagate more resurrection plants! I just have to make sure not to give it too much water. It's better for it to go back into dormancy than death by drowning.
This plant should be easy to take care of. What do you think? Do you think you could keep a false rose of Jericho?