Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Lease on Life for Masada Date Palm

Israeli scientists are nurturing a baby date palm, now three years old, grown from a seed found at the ancient fortrus of Masada. Though they don't yet know whether it's male or female the sapling, which is affectionately known as Methuselah, appears to be thriving.

The species to which Methuselah belongs died out in its native Near East in the middle Ages. But it is known to have had great significance, including as a source of medicine. Researchers hope to study the plant's medicinal properties; indeed, a leaf from the sapling has already been sent away for analysis.

Links
Date Palm Buds after 2000 Years (BBC)
Tree from 2,000-year-old seed is doing well (AP)

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