Have you ever wondered how some plants survive severe environments? Well, the Cyathea rojasiana is a prime example of this, as it can transform dead leaves into roots that keep the plant alive. The article, “Back from the Dead: Tropical Tree Fern Repurposes Dead Leaves” explains this plant and its amazing abilities. Cyathea rojasiana, a unique tree fern from Panema, converts its dead leaves into little roots that seek out nutrient-rich soil.

Cyathea arborea 1

The plant was found by plant biologists, notably Professor James Dalling. According to Dalling, the plant’s process of self-nourishment happens after the leaves have fully died and blended with the soil. The fern then reorganizes its leaves, absorbing nutrients, particularly nitrogen, from the soil via its newly created roots. Furthermore, even though the tree fern’s dead leaves appear to be disintegrating, they’re actually helping the plant survive. Since Panama’s soil is deficient in nutrients, this process is essential to the tree’s survival. 


To continue, after reading the story, I was reminded of the photosynthesis unit I learned in AP Biology. Photosynthesis, in simple terms, is the process by which plants transform light energy into chemical energy in the form of glucose through photosystems (II and I) and the Calvin cycle. Despite their differences, the sentiments remain the same. While the Cyathea rojasiana’s adaptation does not replace photosynthesis, it complements it. The tree obtains nutrients from the soil via its roots, ensuring that it gets the building blocks required for development and survival.

Photosynthesis en

In conclusion, as someone who enjoys planting and loves nature, it was very interesting to learn about this unique tree because it reveals a unique survival skill I was unaware of. The tree has learned to absorb nutrients while growing in soil that lacks nutrients. This shows how well some plants can adjust to harsh conditions, giving ideas for new and creative gardening methods. Additionally, learning about the Cyathea rojasiana provides information that can be used to enhance gardening. So, is this something you want to try and implement into your gardening routine? Let me know in the comments!!