Is this Fern mostly dead?

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The thought of coming back from the dead has been exclusively reserved for movie screens and magi tricks, however in the plant kingdom there is one plant that takes it to the extreme. If you’ve strolled through the gardens of Bok Tower during the dry months, you may have noticed some brown shriveled plants growing and on the pathway logs. Your first thought might be perhaps these plants have died due to the colder temperature or lack of rain, but these plants are much more the meets the eye. The plants in question are called “resurrection ferns” and are very aptly named.

During the drier seasons in Florida these ferns, on average these ferns lose 75% of their water and in desperate times can lose up to 97% of their water in order to survive. This extreme loss of water is what gives them their lifeless appearance leading most to presume they are dead. However, the real trick is not the water loss but the instantaneous change once rain provides moisture. The plant seemingly changes overnight transforming from shriveled and brown to healthy and lush, thus earning the name resurrection fern.

To put this transformation into perspective most plants can only lose 10 percent of their water content before dying. The Gardens have long been a source of transformative energy, both for humans and for plants.