There are several plants called ‘The Rose of Jericho’, but what we have here is Selaginella lepidophylla – a species known for being a resurrection plant. Resurrection plants are plants that can tolerate extreme dehydration without suffering any physiological damage from it. All it takes is a little water for the magic rejuvenation to happen:
After just a few hours of exposure to moisture the plants burst to life, turning what seemed to be a lifeless patch of dried out leaves into a lovely plant. Videographer Sean Steininger shot this timelapse of several plants as he exposed them to water. (via Cause, Science!). You can also buy some of these plants online, but they will only thrive in dry places.
Scientists believe the key to this behavior is a molecule called trehalose. This molecule protects organisms, including the infamous water bears (tardigrades), from extreme conditions by stabilizing proteins and preserving cellular membranes.
The timelapse was shot by videographer Sean Steininger:
Enjoyed this article? Join 40,000+ subscribers to the ZME Science newsletter. Subscribe now!