Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dated date... dubbed Methuselah

A dormant date pit has been coaxed into sprouting 2000 years after a Judean spat it out at the fortress Masada, according to a report in today's Haaretz.

The resurrected seedling now grows in a hothouse in Arava, alongside the Biblical plants of frankincense and myrrh, which are cultivated for anti-inflammatory properties. Plant researcher Elaine Soloway, who nicknamed her historic plant "Methuselah", said that she will soon attempt to transplant it. Archaeologists discovered a jar of old date pits back in the 1970s, and that Dr Sarah Salon, from Hadassah hospital's Natural Medicine Research Unit, asked her two years ago to try and germinate one. It was a coin toss whether it would survive, because the initial sprout looked so pale and anaemic.

She coddled it, and within two months, the plant has grown disproportionately long branches. The kibbutznik gardener hopes that if the seedling turns out to be female, it will bear fruit in a couple of years and she can nibble on the succulent Judean dates that Pliny the Elder raved about. Talk about old-fashioned flavour! In palmier days, they were commemorated on ancient coins as a symbol of Judea.


Anonymous said...

Hey, Izzy, speaking of dates....are you a tasty morsel???

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of this.... How fantastic that they were able to grow it!! thanks for the info!