Myrothamnus flabellifolius  Resurrection Plant  Opstandingsplant
Myrothamnus flabellifolius
Jembisa, Nov 2019

Myrothamnus flabellifolius (“aromatic bush” + “fan-like leaves”) is perhaps one of the Waterberg's most unusual and most interesting plants. A small (less than 1m tall) woody shrub that grows on exposed sheets of rock (see desiccated plants on sheet-rock alongside), it occurs widely across southern Africa in this type of terrain. Its uniqueness lies in its ability to revive rapidly from a desiccated state when it receives water, hence its name 'resurrection plant'. It shares this property with just a handful of other plants in the world and its ability to tolerate desiccation has been the subject of extensive ongoing research, much of it led by the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Cape Town (see download). It has a unique leaf and stem cell structure and chemistry that preserves it in the dry state and enables its rapid recovery when wet. The plant also has unique chemical attributes that give it a wide range of medicinal uses including treating wounds and providing relief of body pains, kidney disorders, coughs and depression. As a result it is widely harvested both by tribal communities and by commercial pharmaceutical enterprises for its medicinal properties: products from it include skin creams, body lotions (see below), salves and tea. Given its local abundance in the Waterberg there is an opportunity here for harvesting it commercially but research is needed to ensure the sustainable use of the resource.
Myrothamnus flabellifolius
VistaVistas Private Game Reserve, May 2022

Myrothamnus flabellifolius flowers
Moletadikgwa Wildlife Sanctuary, Mar 2020

female flowers
Myrothamnus flabellifolius
Moletadikgwa Wildlife Sanctuary, Nov 2020

male flowers
Myrothamnus flabellifolius
Kaingo Private Game Reserve, Dec 2014

male flowers left; female flowers right
Myrothamnus flabellifolius
de Brug, Nov 2017

Myrothamnus flabellifolius
Swebeswebe Private NR, Sep 2018

Desiccated plants
Myrothamnus flabellifolius
Witwater, Nov 2017

"Resurrected" plants
Myrothamnus flabellifolius oil
Myrothamnus  extract

This Swiss-made skin-care lotion is made from oil extract from the plant, claiming that the plant's ability to recover quickly has beneficial properties for the skin.

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