This ball of vegetation is Selaginella lepidophylla, commonly called by many names, including the flower of stone, Lazarus plant, and dinosaur plant. It is not dead.
It is a type of resurrection plant, which means it can survive long periods of drought, an important survival mechanism for its native habitat, the Chihuahuan Desert.
The plant wraps itself into a ball when dehydrated, reducing metabolism to a minimum. When rehydrated, it springs back to life by uncurling itself, resuming photosynthesis and turning green.
It can survive for years without water thanks to the plant’s ability to produce a sugar called trehalose, which replaces the evaporating water, preventing cell death. As water is reintroduced, it dissolves these sugars and metabolism restarts.
What’s even more impressive is, after extended periods of extreme dryness, the plant will detach from its roots, allowing the wind to carry it away. If it finds moisture elsewhere, it takes root there upon rehydration.
Timelapse was done over period of 12 hours