Date palm buds after 2,000 years
Israeli researchers say they have succeeded in
growing a date palm from a 2,000-year-old seed
The seed was one of several found during an excavation
of the ancient mountain fortress of Masada. Scientists working
on the project believe it is the oldest seed ever germinated.
Researchers in Jerusalem have nicknamed the sapling Methuselah,
after the biblical figure said to have lived for nearly
The palm is from a variety that became extinct in the Middle
Ages and was reputed to have powerful medicinal properties.
The plant is now nearly 30cm (12in) tall.
Researcher Sarah Sallon of the Louis Borick Natural Medicine
Research Centre in Jerusalem said that one of the plant's
leaves had been sent for analysis.
Dates had "an enormous amount of use in ancient times
for infections, for tumours" she told the Associated
Press news agency.
"We're researching medicinal plants for all we're
worth, we think that ancient medicines of the past can be
the medicines of the future," she added.
If it continues to thrive, scientists hope the palm will
eventually reveal the secrets of its past.
Taken from the BBC News website
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