Sunday, November 11, 2012

Selaginella lepidophylla

Selaginella lepidophylla, aka Rose of Jericho, resurrection plant, dinosaur plant, siempre vive, stone flower and doradillo, is a true desert spikemoss of the family Selaginellaceae. As seen in the above video it can completely dessicate into a tight ball and with rehydration uncurl and green up. Native to the Chihuahuan desert.

(c) Ad Konings

Lycopsids such as this suggest a model for how pteridophytes, which  produce water dependent sporangia, could have served as significant groundcover even in xeric habits during the Mesozoic. Such an environment would have been seen a significant "greening up" during the wet season when dessicated ferns, bryophytes, lycopsids and fungi revitalize after a dormancy.

Textbook sporophyte lifecycle w/ traditional sexual union

With the recent elucidation of the "Gaga ferns" and their bisexual nature of gametophyte reproduction- in which the water dependent gametophyte stage is literally "hurried along" by skipping the traditional sexual union of sperm/egg (antheridium/archegonium) during the lifecyle of the fern- this method of reproduction in xerically adapted spore producing plants during the Mesozoic is a distinct possibility.


Karoo Desert nat'l botanic garden (c)

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