March 13, 2007
AGAINST ALL ODDS
Don't throw away those seeds even if the package has a use by date . Researchers in Jerusalem have succeeded in growing a date palm from a 2,000-year-old seed ! They wisely named it Methuselah even though it's almost twice his age. They believe it to be the oldest seed ever to germinate.
The date palm is from a variety that became extinct in the Middle Ages and was thought to have powerful medicinal effects on infection and tumors.
British researchers at Kew Gardens were able last year to successful germinate seeds that were from a sunken ship wreck in 1803 and had been kept in a Merchant's box in a museum for 200 years.
The world's greatest concentration of plant life is cared for in the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place. The vaults now hold 950 million seeds representing 15,000 species from 126 countries. The seeds, kept under ideal conditions, are expected to last more than 200 years.