En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - February 04, 2009

From: Centennial, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Resurrection plant not reviving.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have what might be a resurrection plant but it never turns green. When it is watered it opens up and turns from tan to dark brown. Is it just a different variety of resurrection plant or something else altogether?

ANSWER:

There are two plants, Selaginella lepidophylla (flower of stone) and Anastatica hierochuntica (rose of Jerico) that are commonly referred to as resurrection plant and another, Pleopeltis polypodioides ssp. polypodioides (resurrection fern), that is sometimes called resurrection plant.  Anastatica hierochuntica is a Sahara Desert native and is probably not the plant species you're inquiring about. Pleopeltis polypodioides is native to the southeastern US and is more commoly known as resurrection fern than resurrection plant.  Therefore we think your plant is probably Selaginella lepidophylla, a native of the Chihuahuan desert.

If we are right in our deductive reasoning, then we're afraid that nothing can be done to help you.  Your plant is dead and nothing short of divine intervention is going to resurrect it.  Selaginella lepidophylla grows in desert area of Texas, New Mexico and Mexico along rocky ledges.  It is collected in great numbers (probably much over-collected!) by ripping the plants from their roots.  The plant dries into a ball of foliage that unfurls upon adding water.  Unscrupulous marketers sell these plants to unsuspecting customers who have no idea that the plants can never be revived to a living, growing state.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Flowers for an August wedding in Driftwood TX
March 25, 2012 - For an August 4th wedding in Driftwood, Texas we want fragrant flowers and wildflowers that we can grow in our garden. We have four raised beds (12 ft. x 6 ft.) in a fenced area in which we've grown ...
view the full question and answer

Care for some non-native salvias from Austin
November 12, 2012 - Mexican bush sage and Salvia "indigo spires" are both blooming in my Austin beds right now. Once they stop blooming and/or frost gets them, could you tell me by how much they should be cut back? R...
view the full question and answer

Cutting Garden Plants for TN
July 16, 2014 - I would like to know what would be in a year round cutting garden in Nashville, TN for a novel I am writing.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Narrow, Dry, Shaded Site in Georgia
April 03, 2014 - I am writing from Valdosta, GA. Could you please suggest three perennial shrubs and/or plants that flower at different times of the spring and summer? Also ones that can be planted in a 2 ft. wide s...
view the full question and answer

Native alternative to tulips from Milford MI
October 15, 2013 - What could be a good alternative to tulips? I have not seen a native plant quite like a tulip (except a tulip tree). A good alternative should bloom in April or May and have showy flowers. I searched...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center