Anastatica hierochuntica, Rose of Jericho, Resurrection plant, Virgin's Hand, Mary's flower,
Hebrew: שושנת-יריחו אמתית, Arabic: Keff Maryam (كف مريم), shajarat Maryam (شجرة مريم)

Scientific name:  Anastatica hierochuntica L.
Common name:   Rose of Jericho, Resurrection plant, Virgin's Hand, Mary's flower
Hebrew name:  שושנת-יריחו אמתית
Arabic name:  Keff Maryam (كف مريم), shajarat Maryam (شجرة مريم),
Aisha's palm (كف عائشة )
Family:  Cruciferae / Brassicaceae, מצליבים

Anastatica hierochuntica, Rose of Jericho, Resurrection plant, Mary's flower, Virgin's Hand, Mary's flower, שושנת-יריחו אמתית, Keff Maryam (كف مريم), shajarat Maryam (شجرة مريم)

Life form:  Annual, between 5 and 10cm with a rosette of branches and leaves from the top of its heavy tap-root, a tumble weed
Spinescence:  Absent
Succulence:  Non-succulent
Stems:  Everywhere hoary, with dense stellated hairs
Leaves:  Alternate, entire, lanceolate to obovate, covered with dense hairs, roughly toothed, 3cm. long and 2cm. wide, falling rapidly
Inflorescence:  Racemes lateral, erect, rigid, almost spiny, bearing seven or eight nearly sessile inconspicuous flowers
Flowers:  Hermaphrodite only, calyx of four stellato-pubescent sepals; white petals orbicular, clawed, longer than the sepals; stamens six, four long, two short;anthers oblong, yellow
Fruits / pods:  Hairy ovoid silicula with two wings
Flowering Period:  December, January, February, March, April
Habitat:  Desert
Distribution:  Shrub-steppes, Deserts, Semi-steppe shrublands
Chorotype:  Saharo-Arabian
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Anastatica hierochuntica, Rose of Jericho, Resurrection plant, שושנת-יריחו אמתית, Arabic Keff Maryam (كف مريم), shajarat Maryam (شجرة مريم)


Derivation of the botanical name:
Anastatica from Greek Anastasis, resurrection, in allusion to the fact that no mmatter how dry it may have become, the plant recovers its shape on being placed in water.
hierochuntica from the classical name of the town of Jericho.
Mary's flower because of a legend which affirms tht all of the plants of this species expanded, became green, and blossomed again at the birth of Jesus, and still do so in commemoration of this event.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
Anastatica hierochuntica populations are associated with habitat types which collect runoff water such as runnels of different orders and depressions in flat gravelly or sandy areas of hot deserts of the Saharo-Arabian and Sudanian phytogeographical regions (Friedman and Stein, 1980; Gutterman and Shem-Tov, 1997). The seed dispersal mechanism in A. hierochuntica is highly dependent on the hygrochastic movement of the stems of the dead plant skeletons (Van Oudtshoorn and Van Rooyen, 1999 ).
The characteristical root horizon of Anastatica in a natural environment is controlled by the soil moisture content, the nitrogen supply and the mechanical impedance of the soil.
  • Henry Baker Tristram (1822–1906), the Natural History of the Bible: "The so-called Rose of Jericho has nothing to do with the scriptural illusions. It ia a small ligneous cruciferous plant, very inconspicuous, looking like some withered twig, which grows in the sand in the hot barren plains round the Dead Sea. It derives its botanical name from its singular property of opening its minute flowers when plunged into water months after it has been gathere. It is sought after as a relic by pilgrims."
  • James A. Duke (4 April 1929 – 10 December 2017, an American botanist), Duke's Handbook of Medical Plants of the Bible: "O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. Psalms 83:13 (KJV).
    Folklore has it that Mary clenched this in her hand when birthing Jesus (GHA). A typical tumbleweed and resurrection plant, it occurs in sand depressions or wadis in hot deserts, like the Judaean and Negev. It is probably what was mentioned as the “wheel” in Psalms 83. Zohary calls it the true Rose of Jericho. Dry fruiting branches hygroscopically expand into the “Jericho Rose” when placed in water, even if dry for several years. The rose is sold in Middle Eastern markets as “Kaff Mariam,” (e.g., Qatar and other Arabian States and Emirates). The plant is soaked in water and, when it has unfurled, the water is drunk by the expectant mother, perhaps in hopes that the offspring will fill out as readily as the Jericho Rose, a symbol of resurrection (BAT; RIZ)".

Anastatica hierochuntica, Rose of Jericho, Resurrection plant, שושנת-יריחו אמתית, Arabic Keff Maryam (كف مريم), shajarat Maryam (شجرة مريم)


Anastatica hierochuntica, Rose of Jericho, Resurrection plant, שושנת-יריחו אמתית, Keff Maryam (كف مريم), shajarat Maryam (شجرة مريم)