The Selaginella lepidophylla, or as its commonly named the “Dinosaur Plant” is a desert plant that can resurrect itself from extreme dryness, and it is this fact that gives it its most common title, the “Resurrection Plant”.
So many people are growing succulents these days because they are beautiful, easy, very low maintenance and super fun to grow.
So, below we will answer the top questions for the Resurrection Plant – also commonly known as the Dinosaur Plant because so, so many people want to know.
Be sure to scan all the sub-headlines to be sure that there aren’t questions that you have and maybe didn’t even realize.
Now, let’s bring the Resurrection Plant back to life by diving right in, shall we…
Resurrection Plant – Dinosaur Plant Health Benefits?
This plant also has many health benefits and medicinal uses that helps treat all sorts of symptoms and provides a ton of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for the body.
So, it’s been grown successfully in commercial settings. However, when researching, it is actually quite hard to find accurate information on how to take care of the plant so that you can grow it at home.
So, we have gathered the best information on how to grow and take care of your Selaginella lepidophylla so that you can enjoy gardening and gaining the benefits of the plant right in your own home.
What Is The Selaginella Lepidophylla?
The Selaginella lepidophylla is a desert succulent of the Selaginellaceae family. Native to the Chihuahua desert, this plant is known as the “resurrection plant” because of its ability to revive itself after having experienced a long drought.
In its dry native habitat, the Selaginella lepidophylla’s stems curl up into a tight ball and uncurl itself, or revive, when exposed to moisture. In its hydrated state, it is naturally green with long fern-like leaves with some leaf tips white and curled up just at the end.
The way this plant survives while it seems like the scorched earth in the area is too dry to for anything to survive, is by going into a dormant state and synthesizing trehalose. Trehalose is a crystallized sugar that is used as a moisture storing device.
Dissolved salts become crystallized when moisture leaves the plant. The stored salts would normally harm the plant by corroding it from the inside out.
So, the trehalose is used as a substitute for the water and prevents the salts from damaging the plant and its possible death from the excess of salinity.
The Selaginella Lepidophylla only revives when it becomes moisturized again and when the sugar crystals (trehalose) dissolve and the plant’s metabolism kicks back into its normal processes.
Scientists postulate that the plants unique medicinal benefits are a side effect of the plants ability to go dormant for unspecified lengths of time.
This plant is a favorite of indoor growers who like to grow it in an indoor greenhouse, on a windowsill or even the kitchen counter. People have used it for thousands of years as a medicinal and so, people like having it around the house to use when needed.
What Are The Common Names Of The Selaginella Lepidophylla?
The common names of the Selaginella Lepidophylla are “Resurrection Plant”, “Dinosaur Plant”, “Flower of Stone”, “False Rose of Jericho”, and “Siempre Viva”.
Selaginella comes from the Latin word “selago”, a word that is used for many Lycopodium species, or club mosses. Lepidophylla comes from the Ancient Greek word Lepido meaning “scaly”, referring the plant’s fern-like scaly appearance.
The common name “Resurrection plant” comes from the plant’s ability to resurrect itself from extreme dryness and or prolonged drought.
Another reason why the Selaginella Lepidophylla is also most commonly known as the “Dinosaur plant” is because of the plant’s resemblance to the classic fern plant, a plant that is known to be a prehistoric in origin.
It is also called the “Flower of Stone”, referring the plant’s appearance of stone; dark and curled up when it becomes dry before springing back into life when it is watered, or the rains come.
Although it shares the same common name with the Anastatica, the Selaginella Lepidophylla’s common name is often mistake between “Rose of Jericho” and “False Rose of Jericho” when the true “Rose of Jericho” is the Anastatica.
The “False Rose of Jericho” is named after the biblical city of Jericho, that revives from the ashes, similar to the plant reviving after extreme dryness.
“Siempre Viva” is Spanish for “Always alive”, referring to the plant’s reviving ability.
The History Of The Dinosaur Plant – Selaginella Lepidophylla
Although there is little scientific recorded history of the Selaginella Lepidophylla dating back to its discovery, there are still some small bits of information that discuss what is known about the plant.
The Selaginella Lepidophylla is native to the dry climates of the Chihuahuan Desert in North America. The Selaginella Lepidophylla does share the same reviving abilities as the Anastatica Hierochuntica, though these two are not related in at least top level genus.
The Anastatica is part of the Brassicaceae Family while the Selaginella is part of the spike moss family, or the Selaginellaceae family.
How To Take Care Of Your Dinosaur Plant?
Although this plant is considered a succulent, it’s different than that of a regular house succulent. For soil, you don’t have to worry about getting just the right one or giving your plant anything special. It thrives in most soils and even sandy, loamy soil.
Soil isn’t even a necessity for the Selaginella Lepidophylla, they can actually be grown hydroponically in water, but they need to be taken out of water for short periods of time to avoid over watering and root rot.
If you’ve chosen to grow it as a house plant, transfer the re-hydrated plant into a fresh pot of well-drained soil mix of one part sand, one-part potting soil, and two parts humus.
Do not transfer the plant if it is in its dormant un-watered state, only transfer it once it has rehydrated and opened back up.
As stated, water is very important for your Selaginella Lepidophylla. To re-hydrate them, place them in a pot of pebbles and you should water them until the water reaches just above the pebbles so that the plant is not completely submerged in water.
Although water doesn’t seem to be important, the Selaginella Lepidophylla is picky about what type of water it is given. Use distilled water to water your plant. If you are re-hydrating a dried-up ball of Selaginella Lepidophylla, it takes about 3 to 6 hours for it to fully open up.
You would expect for this desert plant to be fine with whatever temperature you threw at it, right? Wrong. The Selaginella Lepidophylla doesn’t like temperatures that are too hot or too cold, leave it in regular room temperature or indoor greenhouse temperatures for the best results.
However, do avoid placing your plant in cool and windy places like next to a vent or window. The plant will tend to grow away from the wind source indicating that it doesn’t actually like it.
The Selaginella Lepidophylla requires very little fertilizer. Use a water-soluble fertilizer and feed it twice a year, once in spring and once in the fall.
What Is The Best Soil Recommended For The Dinosaur Plant?
Although the Dinosaur plant doesn’t require soil, it still thrives best in it. Just plant it in a pot of well-drained soil mix of one part sand, one-part potting soil and two parts humus.
It will be happy and thrive in this mix, and the sand portion helps it avoid root rot and adds to proper drainage.
How Much Sunlight Should My Dinosaur Plant Be Exposed To?
You shouldn’t worry about how much sunlight you should expose your Dinosaur plant to because of its origin and adaptation to dry climates. As long as you water your plant, you can keep your plant out in the sun as long as you like.
How Often Should I Water My Dinosaur Plant?
You shouldn’t worry about how often or how much you should water your Dinosaur plant. The Selaginella Lepidophylla can go months without water, so it is best to water it once a month. But during spring and winter you should pay a little more attention to it than you would usually during the rest of the year.
What Temperatures Are Ideal For The Dinosaur Plant?
The ideal temperature ranges for the Dinosaur Plant are regular room temperatures. The Selaginella Lepidophylla doesn’t like too hot or too cold temperatures, just keep it at regular room temperature and your plant should be fine but avoid placing it near cool and windy vents or windows.
What Fertilizer Should I Use For The Dinosaur Plant?
The best fertilizer to use for your Dinosaur plant is a water-soluble fertilizer. Although this plant needs very little fertilizer, it is suggested to feed it twice a year for an extra boost of nutrients. Feed it once in the early spring and once more in early fall.
What Is The Lifespan Of The Dinosaur Plant?
The Dinosaur plant has shown to have a lifespan of up to 25 years, even if most of the time it is dried up. This proves that even if the plant is crusty, dried up and looks like there is no hope for it, the Selaginella Lepidophylla can revive like a Phoenix from the ashes and go on living for a long time afterwards.
Is The Dinosaur Plant Poisonous?
Selaginella Lepidophylla may be poisonous to cats. It is best to keep the plant out of your pets reach to not tempt an accident.
There is no known toxicity to humans within normal consumption ranges.
Is The Dinosaur Plant Edible?
Yes, the Dinosaur Plant is edible, but it is not palatable. Many people use Selaginella Lepidophylla extract for health benefits, but it doesn’t mean that you should walk up to your plant and take a big bite out of it, trust us, the taste is pretty foul.
Why Is The Selaginella Lepidophylla Known As The Resurrection Plant?
The Selaginella Lepidophylla is known as the Resurrection plant because of its ability to revive after extreme dehydration. The way the plant does this by going into a dormant state where the plant uses trehalose, a crystallized sugar, as a solute.
The plant’s moisture dries up and the trehalose is used as a substitute to water so that the salts in the plant don’t overpower and cause damage or possible death to the plant from excess of salinity.
Once the plant regains moisture, the trehalose dissolves and replenishes the plant until the Selaginella Lepidophylla has re-hydrates and fully recovered.
What Are The Health Benefits And Medicinal Of The Dinosaur Plant?
The Selaginella Lepidophylla extract of the plant’s compounds have been shown to prevent the growth of a pathogen in gastric cancer.
The plant is rich in chlorogenic acid, quercetin, kaempferol, and luteolin, and it has shown in studies to possibly reduce inflammation, arthritis pain, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
Selaginella Lepidophylla has been used as herbal medicine for hundreds of years according to legend and lore.
One use is as an infusion which is made by steeping a tablespoon of dried material in hot water, and the resulting tea is used as an antimicrobial to treat colds and sore throat.
How To Propagate The Dinosaur Plant?
You can propagate your Dinosaur plant by division.
Start by taking any of the cuttings during any time of the year, it is suggested that taking cuttings during its growing period of spring through fall has the best results. Then place the cuttings on top of loose soil and water it to begin the growing process, roots will grow into the soil quickly with these amazing resurrection plants.
What Are The Most Common Selaginella Lepidophylla Pests?
The most common Selaginella Lepidophylla pests are whiteflies, mealybugs and spider mites.
White flies can be detected from seeing white gnats flying around the plant or your leaves look yellow and drooping. These are most commonly caused by open windows allowing the bugs in.
Mealybugs can be detected from a white powdery substance on the surface of the leaves. Spider mites can be detected from webbing developing under the leaves and small white dots moving around. Both mealy bugs and spider mites can be found preexisting in packaged potting mixes.
To get rid of whiteflies, mealybugs and spider mites, you will need to isolate your plant and rinse the Selaginella Lepidophylla off with insecticidal soaps and sticky traps to deal with flying bugs.