FEATURE: WATCH: Timelapse of Rose of Jericho resurrection

Watch as dried-out Rose of Jericho (Selaginella lepidophylla) mosses are brought back to life with just a drop of water.

Native to the Chihuahuan Desert on the US-Mexican border, the Rose of Jericho is famous for its ability to lie dormant and completely dehydrated for several years without dying. After just a few hours of exposure to moisture, these resilient desert plants unfurl to reveal splashes of green foliage, almost as if they’ve been ‘resurrected’.

The ability is linked to the moss’s incredibly harsh habitat, allowing it to transition into dormancy during the dry season to conserve energy and then spring back to life at the first sign of rain or dew. During its dormant stage, the Rose of Jericho can often take on the form of a brittle, mobile tumbleweed, and can still be brought back to life even if it’s been completely uprooted.

Over the course of three to four weeks, videographer Sean Steininger filmed a time-lapse video of several Rose of Jericho mosses being resurrected, going through multiple cycles of resurrection, dormancy, resurrection, and dormancy once more. The mosses usually took between 12 and 24 hours to spring back to life once the moisture hit. 

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