The Rose of Jericho (in this case Latin name Selaginella lepidophylla) is a type of desert moss found in Israel and Jordan which has the ability to quite literally ‘resurrect’ itself after extreme bouts dehydration, sometimes for years. Christians therefore call it the Resurrection flower.
When you expose the Rose of Jericho to water, the result is breathtaking. After a few short hours it uncurls from a tight ball into a green flower. See this timelapse video below by Sean Steininger. And some gifs from the film.
I’ve seen the Rose of Jericho in dried form for sale at Christian pilgrim sites in Israel. No doubt if you look hard enough on your travels you’ll find it in the wild – just like the old miswak toothbrush spotted in the Dead Sea.
The Rose of Jericho as traditional medicine
The Rose of Jericho is also known as the Flower of Maryam and is used by midwives all over the Middle East. According to Baraka Birth, “traditional midwives have used the Flower of Maryam with their laboring mothers for hundreds of years.
“A quick glance at its names suggests its religious significance: it is referred to as the “leaf of Maryam” (mother of Jesus), the “hand of Fatima” (daughter of the Prophet ), as well as simply “daughter of the Prophet,” and “resurrection plant.”
“It is referenced in the Bible in II Kings 19:34-36 and in Psalms 83:13, “make them like tumbleweed,” here referring to the dried twiggy balls of Anastatica that disperse in the wind, scattering its seeds.
While you should consult a herbalist or your doc before trying this at home, people in the Middle East use the Rose of Jericho as a traditional medicine to treat various health conditions, including diabetes, asthma, the common cold, menstrual cramps, and arthritis pain, as well as to facilitate labor. I used black cohosh, via my midwife, but this could be an alternative. Again, always check a trusted source first.
People usually prepare it as a tea using its seeds or dried leaves and flowers.
How to plant your rose of Jericho
To “plant” your Rose of Jericho, fill dish with pebbles or gravel and add water until the pebbles are just submerged. Place your Rose of Jericho on top with its roots touching the water. While the plant can survive with almost no water if necessary, it can rot if overwatered. Over-watering plants, or over-loving them as I like to say, is the reason why most houseplants die.
But you came here to see The Rose of Jericho unfold. More below.
If you are addicted – watch the full life cycle of the Rose of Sharon come to life in this time lapse video: