See Rose of Jericho.
Rose Of Jericho, a trivial name for an oriental plant of the cruciferoe or mustard family, anastatica hierochuntina (Gr. , resurrection), the only species of the genus, which is found in northern Africa, Syria, and Arabia. It is an annual, and grows in sandy wastes; its main stem is very short, and its branches, which are a few inches long, spread in all directions; it has obovate leaves, and small, sessile, white flowers, succeeded by globose pods, each of which has two rounded earlike projections. The plant in flower during the growing season presents no unusual appearance, but as the pods begin to ripen on the approach of dry weather, the branches, which were heretofore succulent and spreading, drop their leaves, and become hard and woody; at the same time each branch curls inward from the tip, and when completely ripe the whole plant appears like a ball of curious wickerwork at the top of a short stem; most of the root dies away, and the fierce autumn wind readily uproots the dead plants, which are rolled along before it to a great distance. Should the plant, as it often does, reach the sea or other body of water, or should it be lodged somewhere on dry land until a rain falls, then the curled and dried branches, under the influence of moisture, unbend and resume their proper position; the pods open and discharge their seeds, it may be at a great distance from the locality where the plant made its growth, illustrating one of the many methods by which the distribution of plants is effected.
In its native country the plant is surrounded by various superstitions. Besides rose of Jericho, it was called by the monks rosa Marioe, and in Palestine it is known as raf Maryam, Mary's flower, it being asserted that the flower, as it is called, expands each year on the day and hour of Christ's birth. The phenomenon of the so-called blooming, which is simply a hygrometric change of form, may be repeated as often as the plant becomes dry and curls into a ball. It is said that women in the countries where it is found place the plant in water at the commencement of labor, hoping that the expansion may be the signal of their deliverance. Other plants have similar hygrometric properties; this is sometimes called " resurrection plant," a name also given to a still more striking club moss of the Pacific coast. (See Lycopodium).
Rose of Jericho (Anastatica hierochuntina). The Dead Plant and a Leafy Branch.