Selaginella lepidophylla, or the “Rose of Jericho,” is a plant with the fascinating ability to fully desiccate when the conditions it requires to remain alive aren’t present. The hibernating ball of dried leaves can remain dormant for years as it waits for the right bit of moisture to spring it back to life.
I can’t remember where I first heard about this miraculous organism (it may have been from a voice carried across a desert wind) but it continues to amaze me. Think of it like a Grow-Your-Own-Boyfriend, but for people who like plants. And what sort of person doesn’t like plants? When placed in a basin of water, what was once a tightly curled tumbleweed of seemingly dead leaves slowly grows, unfurling its fronds as it regains a healthy green-gray hue.
Once you’ve shown it off to your friends and read it a few pages from John Ruskin’s Modern Painters, you can simply remove it from water and watch the process in reverse.
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