All it takes is a taste of rain. Transforming at the first touch of water from a shrivelled tumbleweed to a flourish of lush, green foliage, spike moss lives up to its ‘resurrection plant’ moniker.

With its extract, hydranellys, being one of the key botanical actives in our land&water hand wash, body wash and shampoo, we know how to harness the extraordinary biotechnology of spike moss. Packed with betaines and antioxidants, spike moss has a knack for miraculous moisture-locking – providing deep and long-lasting skin hydration.

Found sprouting in deserts, rocky patches and subtropical climes, spike moss demonstrates remarkable resilience to survive in the harshest of environments. Join us as we dig deeper into this ingenious and invigorating plant…

land&water product shot nestled between spike moss

Lifting the lid on spike moss...

    • Names can be deceiving: Despite its name, spike moss isn’t actually a moss. Resembling a fern with its frond leaves, spike moss is a lycophyte (lyco meaning wolf, as the leaves are said to look like a wolf’s paw) – a vascular plant family dating back 350 million years. Unlike moss, spike moss uses an internal vascular system to move water and photosynthates around the plant, allowing it to grow upright and much taller than its mossy relatives.

        •  Sprinkle with water and stand back: Of the hundreds of species of spike moss, it is Selaginella lepidophylla which earned the nickname of ‘resurrection plant’. Hailing from the Mexican desert, this species has the astonishing ability to enter an extreme form of dormancy where almost the entire plant desiccates, curling up into a tiny brown ball of tumbleweed. Although it may look lifeless, Selaginella lepidophylla can survive in this state for months, even years, at a time, before the long-awaited first raindrops flood life back into the plant, which unfurls fully in a matter of hours, lush green once more.


          Dehydrated spike moss in 'tumble weed' form.

            • Why it’s skin-quenching: Spike moss contains both the antioxidant amentoflavone and the sugar molecule trehalose (which aids the plant’s drought tolerance). These, in combination with hydranellys extract, and the hydrating agent pentylene glycol, strengthen epidermal barrier function to prevent water loss and help to boost lipids and ceramides for long-lasting skin hydration.

            • Future-proofing food crops: Scientists still can’t say for sure exactly how spike moss’ miraculous preservation system works under drought conditions. Studies are ongoing, assessing whether this plant’s unique stress-busting formula could be harnessed for future food crop cultivation in the face of climate change, soil erosion and water scarcity.

            spike moss plant covering large area

            • Power of biblical proportion: Thanks to its incredible regenerative ability, spike moss was used by Spanish missionaries arriving in the New World to illustrate the concept of resurrection to Native American communities in their efforts to convert them to Christianity. It’s been dubbed the ‘siempre viva’ (‘everlasting life’), and is still often sold in its dried form and given as a lucky charm and symbol of hope, rebirth and transformation

            •  At home anywhere: Given their tolerance to a wide range of climates, variants of spike moss crop up anywhere from Africa to China – but are usually happiest basking in a humid, shaded environment. Given its resurrection prowess, spike moss is a popular garden and house plant, and has inspired all sorts of healing uses throughout history. Traditional Chinese medicine reveres its circulation-boosting powers, while a sprinkle of spike moss in a voodoo potion is thought to beckon love and prosperity.

            land&water product in outdoor shower

              • Exciting medical potential: Spike moss contains the bioflavonoid amentoflavone, which is also found in gingko bilboa and St John’s Wort. Bioflavonoids can help regulate metabolism, growth and survival-related proteins and enzymes within the body. Scientific research into this powerful antioxidant is currently examining everything from its anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties to its cancer-battling capability (as it could potentially curb malignant tumour growth). Medical researchers are also trying to unpick this ingredient’s potential for alleviating neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

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