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Selaginella lepidophylla (syn. Lycopodium lepidophyllum) is a species of desert plant in the spikemoss family (Selaginellaceae). S. lepidophylla is noted for its ability to survive almost complete desiccation; during dry weather in its native habitat, its stems curl into a tight ball and uncurl when exposed to moisture. It is native to the Chihuahuan Desert.
Selaginella lepidophylla is easily confused with Anastatica: both species are resurrection plants and form tumbleweeds, and they share the common name "rose of Jericho".
This plant is sold as a novelty item as a bare root in its dry state. It can be revived with only a little water. After wetting, the plant turns green, hence the name "resurrection plant". This use was common in the United States as early as when the Spanish Friars entered the New World, including the area that was to become the United States. They used the plant to demonstrate to the Natives the concept of being reborn.
This plant has been used as a herbal medicine. An infusion (tea) is made by steeping a tablespoon of dried material in hot water and the tea used as an antimicrobial in cases of colds and sore throat. Common names for this in Spanish include doradilla and flor de piedra.
- Lebkuecher, J. and W. Eckmeier (June 1993). "Physiological Benefits of Stem Curling for Resurrection Plants in the Field". Ecology 74 (4): 1073–1080. doi:10.2307/1940477.
- "ITIS Standard Report Page: Selaginella lepidophylla". Itis.gov. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- William Francis Ganong (1921). A Textbook of Botany for Colleges. MacMillan Co. p. 604. ISBN 1-153-17574-6. page 505-506
- Curtin, L.S.M. and M. Moore. 1997. Healing Herbs of the Upper Rio Grande. Western Edge Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
- Schenck, George. 1997. Moss Gardening. Portland: Timber Press
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