To understand mechanisms of osmoprotection, the composition of sugars and related compounds were analyzed in extracts of fully hydrated and desiccated leaves of the desiccation-tolerant resurrection plant Myrothamnus flabellifolia. During the dehydration process the concentrations of fructose and glucose decrease, whereas sucrose, arbutin and glucopyranosyl-β-glycerol increase. The substances were identified by GC-MS and NMR-analyses. This is the first report of large amounts of glucopyranosyl-β-glycerol in higher plants which may act as an osmoprotectant. Significant levels of the nonreducing sugar trehalose were present in all samples tested.