15 Jun 2008
2000-Year-Old Palm Seed From Masada Grows into Tree
Archaeology, Botany, Herod, Judean Date Palm, Masada
Israeli scientists have been able to germinate a seed found at Masada, carbon-dated to be 2000 years old, thus dating from the period when Masada was one of King Herod‘s vacation homes.
The resulting tree is a specimen of the Judean date palm, Phoenix dactylifera, commonly mentioned in the Bible, and prized in Antiquity as a source of food and shade, as well as for its beauty and medicinal qualities, is thought to have become extinct around 500 A.D.
The tree’s sex is as yet unknown, and cannot be determined until the tree is mature. It is hoped that another seed of the opposite sex can also be germinated, and the species revived.
The oldest seed previously germinsted was a 1300 year old Chinese lotus.
The palm is now 5′ tall