Rose of Jericho

The Flora and Fauna tag on Coilhouse reveals many wonders. From actual, real-life creatures – such as the rare, flightless spotted kiwi that made an appearance in yesterday’s BTC, the furry and feathered stars of Larytta’s living kaleidoscope, some stylish camel- and Ninja Turtle-shaped poodles, the memorable, never-safe-for-work Pigbutt Worm, to the imaginary – demonic insects, furry fungi – it’s one exotic menagerie of creatures you either wish you had as pocket-sized talking sidekicks, or hope your enemy encounters in an empty locker room. But there’s one thing missing – weird, real-life plants. Of which there are plenty. The Corpse Plant, for instance, emits the scent of rotting meat to attract bugs. Black hollyhocks are “rock stars of the plant world,” according to Scottish gardener Diane Halligan, explaining that black flowers “seem to rebel against nature and draw us to their nonconformity.” The sleek appearance of Nepenthes ampullaria’sscavenging cannibal leaves” rivals 1stAveMachine’s bio-electronic botanical fabrications in terms of futuristic style. To name just a few.

But the real star of today’s post is the Rose of Jericho – the “resurrection plant” that can be found in the deserts of Mexico and the Middle East, and possesses the seemingly magical ability to, when placed in a bowl of water, become green and lush in a matter of hours after appearing brown, brittle and lifeless for years. When the plant is removed from water, it shrivels up again, until the next time it’s placed in water. This can be done many times over. One romantic caption from the YouTube video above reads, “it travels blown by the wind, where there seems to be no life, its roots have no home and seem dead, but its heart is emerald green-blooded and it opens wide to the´╗┐ slightest presence of water, then it goes back to sleep… and so it goes, eternal.” The Rose of Jericho is said to have many magical properties; some believe that letting it bloom inside the home brings luck in money, while others believe that carrying bits of the plant on one’s person can keep away negative energy. Even if none of that is true, there’s something deeply hypnotic and perhaps even spiritual to watching this plant unfurl. Especially in the clip below, when set to Clint Mansell’s music for Requiem for a Dream. (By the way, these plants are available in most botanical/witchy stores for under $10.)

7 Responses to “Rose of Jericho”

  1. lycophyte Says:

    a bloom inside would indeed bring luck, as it is a non-flowering plant.

  2. Shay Says:

    In Hebrew, the term ‘Rose of Jericho’ (“Shoshanat Yericho”) generally refers to Leishmaniasis.

    Just thought I’d mention that.

  3. Geozilla Says:

    As someone who studies astrobiology and early life I would just like to point out that dessication tolerance (poikilohydry) is a common life strategy among the earliest terrestrial and transitional organisms. Dessication tolerance made these organisms viable colonizers of the otherwise sterile landscape of early continents. The earliest land would have been dry and harsh with no true soils (which is a biogenic product) or weathered clays to hold moisture on the surface. Dessication tolerance is common in algae, all lichen and many bryophytes (including the lycophyta, of which Selaginella is one). Dessication tolerance is very rare in “higher” plants, like the Anastatica, which likely readopted this lifestyle in order to take an advantage of an otherwise empty ecologic niche.

    So, to say all of this in a less dorked out way, lycophyta and it’s poikilohydric ilk are amazing diehards, true pioneers, explorers from another world – they made their way on to a hostile land 425 million years ago, dominated the continents and paved the way for all other land life on this planet. And I think they totally kick ass (botanically speaking).

    Also, you should expand ‘flora and fauna’ tag to be ‘flora, fauna and fungi’ since fungi are neither plant nor animal but their own independent kingdom of life.

  4. Ben Morris Says:

    These days running across zombies on the internet is an everyday occurrence. You deal with it as best you can, you prepare yourself with shotguns and cricket bats. The undead rise (yet again) and you make sure your roommates are on the same playbook but otherwise its not that big of a deal.

    Cultivating undead flora on the other hand seems to be a disaster in the making. These things can live decades without water but what makes you think they won’t drink someone you care about. WHEN YOU LEAST SUSPECT IT.

    ZOMBIE PLANTS DRINK PEOPLE!

  5. Paul Komoda Says:

    That’s quite extraordinary! I’d never heard of this plant before.
    Visually it puts me in mind of one of my favorite creatures, the Gorgonocephlus, or Basket Star-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SiNJ1T3Xbs&feature=related

  6. Adam Etzion Says:

    Heh, Shay, you beat me to it.

  7. Bri Says:

    I love them! I’ve had a few and somehow I managed to _actually_ kill these things. I left them in the same water too long and they became moldy…

    For those of you in the bay area, I know for sure you can buy them at Paxton Gate in SF, which I’m certain has been mentioned on Coilhouse before.

    They also have a website and will probably ship them to any botanical/witchy-store-lacking areas!