Rose of Jericho
Legend has it that the rose accompanied the Virgin Mary on her lonely journey from Jerusalem to Egypt. The rose, out of respect for the Virgin Mary, opened next to her every time she stopped and then closed to follow in her footsteps in the desert as she continued on her way. The Virgin cried with emotion and the wheels opened from her tears! She blessed them never to die!
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What you need to revive a Rose of Jericho: Put it in a bowl and put some water on it (do not cover it with water so that it does not rot). Within a few 24 hours, what used to look like a dry root will open, turn green and bloom!
At first glance it is just a dry pile of dead twigs, sitting in the dust and sand of the desert floor or even sometimes rolling along like tumbleweed in the breeze. However, add a little water and this dormant bundle suddenly springs to life, its twigs unfurling and turning green, earning the amazing Rose of Jericho (anastatica hierochuntica) its alternative title of Resurrection Plant.
Rose of Jericho Around the World
Religion and Literature
Resurrection plants are powerful metaphors for life, love, and rebirth, and it’s no surprise that they pop up in poems and novels from time to time. Resurrection plants appear in poems such as “To the Duke of York” by Robert Herrick, Christina Georgina Rossetti’s “A Rose Plant in Jericho,” and Mollie Moore’s “The Resurrection Plant,” to name just a few.
And the metaphors don’t stop there. Understandably, this plant symbolizes resurrection, rebirth, enduring love, and longevity in many world religions including Hoodoo, Wicca, Santeria, Yoruba, Catholicism, and many others.
In many of these traditions, Rose of Jericho is said to call in wealth, provide protection, bring good luck, and absorb negative energy. It’s sometimes used in spells to “resurrect” an aspect of a person’s life such as romance or income.
For example, Hoodoo practitioners use this plant in prosperity spells by adding five coins to the water used to revive the plant. They then brush the water onto windows and doors to invite prosperity into their homes.
In the Cuban Santeria religion, Rose of Jericho is often used as a spiritual offering.
Rose of Jericho is also popular in Christianity as a Christmas and Easter decoration because it symbolizes the resurrection of Christ. Spanish missionaries even used Selaginella lepidophylla to teach Christian concepts to Native Americans.
Around the world, many families cherish their Rose of Jericho plant and pass it down through generations!
Medicine and Science
Rose of Jericho (and resurrection plants in general) are unusual plants, so naturally, they attract a lot of attention from the scientific community.
Scientists around the world study these plants to better understand their drought-resistant properties, which could possibly lead to more drought-resistant crops and a more sustainable agricultural system.
Rose of Jericho is also no stranger to medical traditions. Traditional Egyptian medicine uses Anastatica heirochuntica to treat fatigue and uterine hemorrhaging. In Mexico, Selaginella lepidophylla is used to quicken labor, and the speed of the plant’s revival is sometimes used to predict the outcome of childbirth.
False Rose of Jericho is sometimes used to treat colds and sore throats in herbal medicine, and the plant is currently being studied for its antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. This plant gets around!
We can’t think of another humble houseplant with such a wide history in so many different areas of human achievement. And it’s so easy to care for!
If you’re ready to bring home your very own Rose of Jericho and watch the magic unfold for yourself, check out our care guide for this hardy and fascinating plant!