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Learn about the 'zombie fern' that can revive dead leaves

Learn about the 'zombie fern' that can revive dead leaves

Researchers have discovered that a type of fern, found in Panama, is able to “revive” its dead leaves, turning them into roots. This way, the plant can continue to feed on the ground.

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The research team explained that when one of the plant's leaves dies, it tends to dry out, lose its color, and wither until it falls. However, this is not the rule when we talk about it Cyathia rugasiana. Due to its different abilities, it has earned the nickname “Zombie Fern”.

The study describing how this process works was published in the journal Ecology. The information is from UOL.

How does the “zombie mechanism” work?

  • According to researchers, this phenomenon only occurs when the dead leaf tilts toward the ground.
  • Upon contact with the ground, the fern automatically revives the leaf.
  • Then roots grow from it.
  • These roots begin to extract nitrogen from the soil and continue to feed the fern.
  • Although revived, the leaves still appear dead, similar to decaying plant matter.
  • This is the first time that scientists have found a plant capable of reshaping a dead part to create a new root system.
  • They believe that this mechanism is an adaptation for survival.
  • This is because Panama originated from volcanic activity, which causes the soil to contain layers of ash, making it difficult to distribute nutrients to the vegetation.
  • Therefore, the “zombie” mechanism is necessary for the survival of this species in food-poor soil.

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