Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Plant That Comes Back From The Dead
I want to show you something. Take a look at this tree limb. Imagine you are standing in the southeastern United States during an intensely dry summer.

No rain has fallen for months, and you believe the tiny dried leaves of whatever plant is sprawled across the surface of this limb must be dead. Surely, no life stirs here.

You are wrong, however, and brewing rain clouds are about to show you how wrong you are.
Water falls from the sky and within a few hours those dead leaves have sprung back to vibrant life.

This is Pleopeltis polyplodioides, the resurrection fern. An epiphyte that draws it's nutrients from the air and the bark it rests on, this plant can dry up in times of drought to the point where it appears dead.

Add a little rainwater, and it can swell back to life in less than twenty-four hours no matter how long its been dry.

It is estimated this plant can go without water for as long as a hundred years. It might not be able to actually bring itself back from the dead, but this remarkable little fern is still a miracle worker to me.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This happened in just a few hours? That's fascinating.