Real rose of Jericho

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Real rose of Jericho
Anastatica hierochuntica in flower

Anastatica hierochuntica in flower

Eurosiden II
Order : Cruciferous (Brassicales)
Family : Cruciferous vegetables (Brassicaceae)
Tribe : Anastaticeae
Genre : Anastatica
Type : Real rose of Jericho
Scientific name of the  genus
Scientific name of the  species
Anastatica hierochuntica
This dry specimen has a diameter of 22 cm

The real rose of Jericho ( Anastatica hierochuntica ), also called desert rose , Jerichorose , Jerusalem rose or Mary 's rose, is the only plant species of the genus Anastatica in the family of the cruciferous plants (Brassicaceae). It is native to the desert areas of Israel , Jordan , the Sinai and parts of North Africa.


The real rose of Jericho grows as an annual herbaceous plant that is 5 to about 15 centimeters high. It forms a taproot . It is branched from the base with ascending branches that roll inward in dry phases. Their surface is densely covered with star hair.

The alternate, spatulate, obovate and short whitish hairy leaves are about 15 to 30 millimeters long and up to 20 millimeters wide, in the front area partly roughly three to five teeth or with entire margins. Your petiole is shorter than the leaf blade .

The plant blooms in spring (in Iran in March to April). Somewhat bristly, axillary and racemose , short inflorescences are formed. The almost sessile, very small, white and hermaphrodite, four-fold flowers are only about 2 millimeters in size. The hairy sepals reach 1.5 mm, the nailed petals 2 mm in length. The six tetradynamic stamens are shorter than the petals with a length of 1.5 to 1.7 mm. The hairy ovary is upper constant with short stylus and capitate stigma . There are nectaries down by the stamens.

The fruits are egg-shaped to spherical, hairy, multi-seeded and difficult to open, double pods of up to 4 millimeters in diameter. The compartments are each divided in the middle. The fruits are beaked with the stylus and with top, side, up to about 2 mm large, somewhat cup-, ear-, spoon-like appendages, wings. The round to ovate, brownish and myxospermic seeds are 1.3–2 mm in size. Due to the slimy-sticky seed coat when wetted, they stick to the ground.

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 22.

After the plants die, the dry branches are curved inward and protect the fruit. When moistened, they spread again every time and the seeds are released ( hygrochasia , hydrochory ). The earlier assumption that the dry plants would be rolled over the ground by the wind and thereby spread their seeds, has not been confirmed.


The range of Anastatica hierochuntica is in Southwest Asia and includes North Africa , Egypt , Arabia , Jordan , Iraq , Iran and Pakistan .


The first description of Anastatica hierochuntica L. as the only species of the genus Anastatica L. was made in 1753 by Carl von Linné in Species Plantarum . P. 641.


At the end of the growth phase, the plant will curl up. The dead plant then serves to temporarily protect the seeds, which now (in nature after a heavy downpour) begin to germinate immediately. The seedling has small green leaves. Each time water is added, only part of the seeds are released.

If you put the dry plant in water, the dry, curled branches unfold and turn dark olive within a day. The process can be shortened to a few hours with warm, at most moderately hot water. In this state you can put it with its rudimentary root stump first in a glass of water for a week at most. A longer period of time does it harm, however: it then starts to get moldy, which is why it must be dried again in the sun and kept dry for at least two weeks.

These "revivals" can be repeated indefinitely, but their apparent reawakening is a purely physical process. It is not a damp (poikilohydre) plant that survives periods of drought; the withered-looking plant is dead. During the “revival”, the cells of Anastatica hierochuntica suck themselves full of water by capillary forces , under the hydrostatic tension the plant unfolds without resuming assimilation . Since this process can be repeated any number of times, it is also called the "resurrection plant".

Loggerhead Rose of Jericho

Anastatica hierochuntica is sometimes confused with Pallenis hierochuntica and the Loggerhead Rose of Jericho , a poikilohydric moss fern ( Selaginella lepidophylla ) from America. In the internet trade, Selaginella lepidophylla is often sold as the rose of Jericho and is misleadingly provided with the crusader legends, which due to their geographical origin can only refer to Anastatica hierochuntica .

The rose of Jericho as a literary motif

The rose of Jericho is mentioned in the pilgrimage reports of early German pilgrims to Jerusalem. In the 14th century, Ludolf von Sudheim located the plant in the desert near Mount Sinai and referred to the legend of Mary's walk through the desert and the Bedouin belief that it was beneficial for births. Also near the Katharinenkloster, which they reached from Gaza, Hans Tucher and his traveling companions used specimens of the desert plant as tinder: "Do yourself grow vil of the flowers that we call roses of iericho .. those that open on the night of Christ are with us We often burn our fire. There we have to cook. If you don't have Holtz at the end, you have little shrubs alone. " The rose of Jericho, brought back to Zurich by the cannon and bell founder Peter Füssli from his pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1524, and other souvenirs formed the basis of a collection documented by a descendant in the 17th century. A rose by Jericho from the early modern period, which the writer David Hess ascribed to the surgeon and traveler Hans Jakob Ammann in an attached note (Zurich Central Library, manuscripts), has been preserved in the holdings of the Zurich Civil Library . The literary motif was an expression of a 19th century writer, often interpreted as an idyllic, glorified family piety.


  • Hazim S. Daoud: Flora Of Kuwait. Vol 1, Routledge, 1985, 2013, ISBN 0-7103-0075-1 , pp. 87 f.
  • Jacob Friedman, Zipporah Stein: The Influence of Seed-Dispersal Mechanisms on the Dispersion of Anastatica Hierochuntica (Cruciferae) in the Negev Desert, Israel. In: Journal of Ecology. Vol. 68, No. 1, 1980, pp. 43-50, doi: 10.2307 / 2259242 .
  • Klaus Kubitzki , Clemens Bayer: The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. Vol. V: Flowering Plants Dicotyledons , Springer, 2003, ISBN 978-3-642-07680-0 , pp. 81, 83, 105.
  • K. van Rheede van Oudtshoorn, MW van Rooyen: Dispersal Biology of Desert Plants. Springer, 1999, ISBN 3-540-64886-0 , p. 72.
  • Barbara Schmid: The Jerusalem pilgrim Peter Füssli and his rose from Jericho. In: Peter Niederhäuser, Regula Schmid (Ed.): Querblicke. Zurich Reformation Stories. Chronos, Zurich 2019 (= communications from the Antiquarian Society in Zurich. Volume 86: 183. Neujahrsblatt), pp. 183–187.
  • Ursula Brunold-Bigler: The Rose of Jericho (Anastatica Hierochuntica), a Christmas oracle plant. In: Swiss Archives for Folklore / Archives suisses des traditions populaires. Volume 73, 1977, Issue 3-4 (birthday edition for Hans Trümpy ), pp. 121-126 ( PDF; 3.4 MB ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Georg August Pritzel , Carl Jessen : The German folk names of plants. New contribution to the German linguistic treasure. Philipp Cohen, Hannover 1882, p. 26, .
  2. a b c d SMH Jafri: Anastatica hierochuntica In: Flora of Pakistan. Volume 45: Brassicaceae . Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  3. Anastatica hierochuntica at In: IPCN Chromosome Reports . Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
  4. ^ Peter Sitte, Hubert Ziegler, Friedrich Ehrendorfer, Andreas Bresinsky: Strasburger, textbook of botany. 33rd edition. Gustav Fischer, Stuttgart / Jena / New York 1991, ISBN 3-437-20447-5 , p. 468.
  5. Carl von Linné: First description of Anastatica hierochuntica. In: Species Plantarum. 1753, p. 641. (online at BHL).
  6. Barbara Schmid: The Jerusalem pilgrim Peter Füssli and his rose from Jericho . In: Peter Niederhäuser, Regula Schmid (Ed.): Querblicke. Zurich Reformation Stories (=  communications from the Antiquarian Society in Zurich . No. 86 ). 183 New Year's Gazette. Chronos, Zurich 2019, p. 185-186 .
  7. Ursula Brunold-Bigler: The rose of Jericho (Anastatica Hierochuntica), a Christmas oracle plant . In: Swiss Archives for Folklore / Archives suisses des traditions populaires . tape 73 , 3-4 (birthday edition for Hans Trümpy), 1977, p. 121–122 ( ).
  8. ^ Hans Tucher: travel book . Konrad Zeininger, Nuremberg 1482, p. 41 .