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Selaginella lepidophylla

Selaginella lepidophylla is a rosette-forming lycophyte of conservation concern native to southern New Mexico, western Texas, and Mexico. It can be found among rocks in xeric regions on dry rocky slopes or exposed grassy hills from 100-2200m (Valdespino 1993; Mickel & Smith 2004). S. lepidophylla is known colloquially as the Rose of Jericho, flor de piedra, and resurrection fern because these plants have a characteristic behavior in which they become metabolically dormant and lateral branches curl inwards when dry during drought stress, and unfurl green with the arrival of moisture. Due in part to these interesting drought adapations S. lepidophylla has been of both commercial and scientific interest. Commercially, individual plants of S. lepidophylla are widely sold as novelty and curio items in gift shops and travel stores. Scientifically, work has been done to characterize its evolutionary relationship with other Selaginella taxa (Korrall & Kenrick 2004, Arrigo et al. 2013) as well as to understand the metabolic mechanisms of its dessication tolerance (Eickmeier 1979; Harten & Eickmeier 1986; Elbein et al. 2003; Iturriaga et al. 2006; Yobi et al. 2013).


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