The Rose Of Jericho Anastatica Hierochuntica is a member of Brassicaceae family of plants. It is the only member of the genus Anastatica. It is a small green herb that can grow to a maximum of fifteen centimeters high and grows very small white flowers when in full bloom.
The Rose Of Jericho grows in the very arid deserts around Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Iran, it is also found in Central America and the Sahara Desert, North Africa.
Without water the plant curls up into a tight ball and resembles a dead plant, upon inspection the plant shows no sign of life, it is dry, very lightweight and fragile. Curling up into a tight ball as it does, actually protects the microscopic seeds within it and prevents them from dropping out or dispersing inappropriately into arid areas where they would not germinate.
The roots retract and snap away from the soil and the plant will blow around like tumble weed in the desert winds. The leaves and little twines of the plant become brittle and will break off to the touch if handled too roughly, as in its 'dead' state it is one hundred percent dry.
The plant can stay in its 'dead' state for fifty years maybe even longer and with the ability to do this, the plant has also been named The Dinosaur Plant. When the Crusaders discovered this plant in the Middle Ages they were astounded by its ability to come back to life from the dead, and consequently it was brought back to Europe where it was also sanctified as the Resurrection Plant.
It can survive with no water at all for years and years, it just waits to be blown by the wind into a puddle, river or until it gets drenched by a sudden rain fall. When that happens the plant will come back to life and in a matter of just a couple of hours the plant will be luscious and green with little flowering buds.
From this... ...to this
These plants are sold in their dried out 'dead' and dormant state, and all it takes is for the little dried up ball to be placed in a little bowl or saucer of water. Then miraculously the plant will start to come back to life. It really is fascinating to observe and remarkably curious as within minutes it starts to revive.
The plant will reach maximum full bloom if left in water for three days. The water must be changed every day whilst the plant lives in it. It is recommended that after a week the plant be taken out of the water and left to dry up, so that it goes back into its 'dead' dormant dried up state.
This procedure can be repeated many times, the plant won't 'wear out' as it is designed to live like this in nature. The Rose Of Jericho plant can quite easily get infected with mould and fungus though as they are quite susceptible to this, specially if left in water too long.
A few drops of fungicide dissolved in half a pint of water which is then added to its water and some sprinkled over its leaves should cure it. The plant and its seeds are very hardy and the plant in either state should last a very long time if cared for properly.
It is commercially available and can even be bought over the internet. You will receive the plant in a little box or a plastic bag. It really is a fascinating plant and people keep them in the same manner as a little pet.
Biblical tradition states that Mary Mother of Christ, noticed this plant on her escape to Egypt with Joseph and that she so loved the plant that she blessed it with eternal life and that this could be the reason the plant survives so well.
Tradition also has it that a house where the "Rose of Jericho" can grow, will be a house that is blessed. It is said in the Middle East that a Rose of Jericho plant in the home will remove bad influences and brings peace in abundance, and that it will bring riches to your home while chasing away evil spirits and bad luck...I think I will buy two in that case !
Where to purchase? I have found several internet sites that sell this plant, and at great prices at around five dollars to seven dollars each. Click on the leaves below to find out more.
Page created November 8th 2008. Updated August 18th 2012