rose of Jericho

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rose of Jericho,

common name for two plants belonging to different families in the plant kingdom. One, an annual desert plant (Anastatica hierochuntica) of the family Cruciferae (mustardmustard,
common name for the Cruciferae, a large family chiefly of herbs of north temperate regions. The easily distinguished flowers of the Cruciferae have four petals arranged diagonally ("cruciform") and alternating with the four sepals.
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 family), is native to Asia Minor. It is a resurrection plantresurrection plant,
name for several plants, usually of arid regions, that may apparently be brought back to life after they are dead. In reality they have hygroscopic qualities which cause them to curl up when dry and to unfold when moist.
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. The branches curl into a ball at maturity, after which the plant, in its native habitat, is blown about by the wind and the seeds are dispersed. The other, Odontospermum pygmaeum, is native to the same region and also called rose of Jericho because of its similar properties. It is a member of the family Asteraceae (asteraster
[Gr.,=star], common name for the Asteraceae (Compositae), the aster family, in North America, name for plants of the genus Aster, sometimes called wild asters, and for a related plant more correctly called China aster (Callistephus chinensis
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 family). Both families are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida. The Cruciferae is in the order Capparales, and the Asteraceae is in the order Asterales.

Rose of Jericho


the name for several species of annual desert plants that dry out after the seeds mature and form small balls, which break off from the root and are rolled by the wind (tumbleweed); in damp weather the seeds spill and germinate.

Two species are best known as rose of Jericho. Odontosper-mum pygmaeum (family Compositae) is distributed from the Sahara to Iran. The involucral bracts of the calathide head are hygroscopic and open when moistened. Anastatica hierochuntica (family Cruciferae) grows in Morocco and Southwest Asia. The inflorescence has hygroscopic branches. Miracle-working properties (for example, as an aid in childbirth) were attributed to the latter, which was imported to Russia from Palestine.