There is nothing more heartbreaking than looking out in your garden of wonderful plants with beautiful shapes and impeccable colors and spotting one dead plant among the others. How did you let it slowly decay without seeing that it needed help? How did you let it reach such a terrible stage? Well before you go digging up that plant that you love so dearly, let us tell you about resurrection plants, because it may not be over yet.
Plants tend to want two things in life, sunlight, and water. Plants have an innate understanding of how to find the light. They stretch, bend and twist to make sure their leaves can absorb some sunlight even in crowded places. With water too, their roots will burrow deep into the soil in search of some much-needed moisture. Plants can be resilient. Most plants can survive a number of days without water before they start to die but long periods without any water will certainly kill them.
A number of plants though have an impressive ability. Once they reached a high level of dehydration, say 95% dehydrated, they look like they are totally dead but can still come back to full lush green life. This sort of resurrection has puzzled the biology community for years.
The plants appear to be almost in a dormant state where their metabolism is almost zero and they have a reduced cell and tissue volume (hence the dead appearance). This behavior appears to be taking place at the cellular level where the plant stops producing many cells but starts producing some proteins to protect it in these emergency moments.
If scientists could understand this behavior more they could use it to protect crops in periods of drought and it could solve world hunger one day. For now, though, the best we can do is say, if your plant does die please make sure there is no chance of resurrection before digging it up.