The resurrection grass Sporobolus stapfianus Gandoger can rapidly recover from extended periods of time in the desiccated state (water potential equilibrated to 2 relative humidity) (Gaff and Ellis, Bothalia 11:305-308 1974; Gaff and Loveys, Transactions of the Malaysian Society of Plant Physiology 3:286-287 1993). Physiological studies have been conducted in S. stapfianus to investigate the responses utilised by these desiccation-tolerant plants to cope with severe water-deficit. In a number of instances, more recent gene expression analyses in S. stapfianus have shed light on the molecular and cellular mechanisms mediating these responses. S. stapfianus is a versatile research tool for investigating desiccation-tolerance in vegetative grass tissue, with several useful characteristics for differentiating desiccation-tolerance adaptive genes from the many dehydration-responsive genes present in plants. A number of genes orthologous to those isolated from dehydrating S. stapfianus have been successfully used to enhance drought and salt tolerance in model plants as well as important crop species.