2000-year-old seeds bring an extinct tree back to life

Ancient Judean date palm
This unassuming looking plant is the only living representative of the Judean Date Palm, a species of tree, which became extinct in antiquity. It was grown from one of a collection of seeds found inside a pottery jar at Masada, a historic mountain fortress in southern Israel. Subsequent radiocarbon analysis of the seeds indicated that they were circa 2000 years old and had been produced sometime between 155 BC and 64 AD.

In 2005 Elaine Solowey, a botanical researcher, decided to see if these ancient seeds were still viable. After soaking them in water and then in an enzymatic fertilizer, she planted three of the seeds into pots. Eight weeks later one of the seeds sprouted and by November 2011 it had grown into a sapling nearly 2.5m in height. The Judean Date Palm had been resurrected.


Further Reading

2,000-Year-Old Seed Sprouts, Sapling Is Thriving

Ancient Date Palm Tree Flourishes Again

Image Source 

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3 Responses to 2000-year-old seeds bring an extinct tree back to life

  1. Catherine Kelly January 27, 2015 at 3:05 am #

    Great site I would love to hear more about the trackways mentioned and their importance in votive offerings.thanks

  2. Hildegerd March 6, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    Hmm, how did it go extinct?


  1. Weekly Roundup of History, Archaeology and Writing Wisdom Nov 1-7 | Judith Starkston - November 8, 2014

    […] From 2,000 yr old seeds found in a pottery jar on Massada, an extinct palm tree comes to life. Quite a rejuvenating tale Click here  […]

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