Three years ago (to the day!) I reported that Israeli researchers had germinated a 2000 year-old seed excavated at Masada, the stronghold of Jewish fortitude. The botanists called the lil’ sprout “Methuseleh” for that super old dude in the Torah, and nurtured it with fertlizer and love.
The green thumbing paid off, ’cause now that seed – the oldest to have ever sprung a shoot in captivity – is now a healthy date sapling standing about 1 1/2 meters high (that’s almost five feet – taller than my oldest kid!) This raises the possibility of resurrecting a long-extinct species famous for its large, sweet fruit and perhaps using dates for medical properties – ancient texts say they were used “to treat tuberculosis, heart problems, worms and infections.”
I’m a tree-hugger anyway, but the fact that this seed came from the site that symbolizes Jewish strength and integrity makes it all the more worthy of reverence. Tree of life, indeed.
*Hat tip to Pepe Pringos for the update!