Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Selaginella lepidophylla – Rose of Jericho

The genus Selaginella – the lesser clubmosses or spikemosses – contains some 750 species, most of which grow in tropical areas, though one species, Selaginella selaginoides, is native to Britain and Ireland.  Some species cope with dry spells by forming tight, dead-looking balls which can be blown around but become green and start growing again when water becomes available.  One such species is Selaginella lepidophylla, native to the Chihuahuan Desert, in north Mexico and the southwestern United States, which has acquired the names resurrection plant, dinosaur plant, and rose of Jericho (sometimes false rose of Jericho, to distinguish it from the unrelated Anastatica hierochuntia, which is native to the Middle East).

The rose of Jericho featured in this post was bought at ‘Original Products.  Religious Artefacts: Herbs, Products from Haiti & USA’, in Market Row, Brixton, London Borough of Lambeth, on 10 January 2019.  The label placed behind a plant displayed in the shop reads:


Divine ROSE OF JERICHO; with the blessings you have received from our Lord Jesus Christ and with all the virtue and power vested in you, help me overcome the difficulties of life.  Give me health, strength, happiness, tranquility and peace in my home, success in business, dexterity in performing my job, and the ability to earn enough money for the neccessities of my home and my family.

Divine ROSE OF JERICHO; by virtue of all the powers granted you through the love of Jesus, grant me the things I ask of you.  Amen. (Say three Our Father)

Instructions:  Put the rose in a deep bowl with water at 9.00 o’clock or 3.00 o’clock on Tuesday or Friday.  Leave it in the water for three consecutive days, remove the rose the same hour it was put in and pray with all your religious faith.       Faith is our salvation, without faith the virtues of this plant are useless.  This plant that is completely dry, recovers life and its natural green colour when it is placed in water.                                                                                                                       When you have removed the plant from the water, use the water that remains in the bowl to sprinke on the front door of your home and in the corners of the rooms.  This will remove evil influences, and bring Peace, Power and Abundance.                                                                                            Tell your friends about the ROSE OF JERICHO, the good you do will come back to you.’

Images:  main and upper inset, Brixton, January 2019; lower inset, Columbia Road Flower Market, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, December 2021.

Updated 24 December 2021.