Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ever Have a 2000 Year Old Date?


"The fact that seeds can survive for so long under the right conditions says a lot about conservation and ways to preserve seeds for future generations. Thank god some seeds can survive, because the way we're busily cutting down everything on the planet, we're sure going to need them." – Sarah Sallon


I get thrilled when I hear that a two thousand year old seed of a palm date tree was not only sprouted, but was successfully grown into a viable tree. This is a wonderful thing, because I work in a health food store, and listen to question s every day that ask me if seed is viable. They ask whether or not the seed product they want to buy will sprout. Not knowing enough about genetics or horticulture, I was shocked to hear that thew scientists do not know whether or not the palm tree is male or female. Apparently, the ability to recreate the tree is limited based on the gender of the tree.

Still, the excitement of this tree, reported four years ago, was somewhat significant, in that the palm plant is listed as extinct. I guess that this becomes the vegetarian version of Jurassic Park. I need to try to find the story follow up to find out if this plant, reported on in late 2005, had persisted in its growth and has continued to develop since the positive reports three and a half years ago.

I was listening to some 2005 podcast when I heard this as a short science notice that piqued my interest. I was sitting at my computer and found an update from last year saying that the tree was still alive and growing well. The claim that the seeds came from a place that was supposedly the palace of King Herod arouses my curiosity. But archaeologists tend to be smarter than me.

They have carbon dated the seed, and verified its age. For this reason alone, I do not care if the seed was found at King Herod's palace, or buried under Herod's in Las Vegas.

I love dates. I am thrilled to know that when I package dates in my cubbyhole at Orchard Nutrition, I know these dates are highly formidable foods. On the island of Java one beautiful woman assured me that she does not like dates. I asked her why, and she told me, “That is what we eat when we are fasting.” I suppose that under those conditions, I would be less than excited about them.

My prevailing fascination with this discovery comes from the fact I work in a health food store. The people that walk into my bulk foods section often are experimenting, venturing into the world of sprouting for nutrition. One question I get asked is whether or not some seed or nut is apt to sprout. I can still not answer with assurance, but at least now I can say, “Maybe if a 2000 year old date stone can grow into a tree, than you should have a decent chance of sprouting those right there.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/12/ancient.seed

6 comments:

Nyl said...

There are a lot of that tree in my grandparents' province Keith. And you'll be amazed that they continue to survive at such age.

brVince said...

I've seen a date palm in our formation house, but it's just one meter high... if it read a thousand years, im sure, the brothers would not let go of our formation house, lol!

Keith said...

Nyl, I think the seed is amazing. How could any seed sit 2000 years without disintegrating? Nature is amazing!

Brother Vincent, Bienvenido. Itg is wonderful to think that during this Lenten Season you would find time to visit my humble blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Keith, i added you on facebook! love your profile pic by the way. Very hairy. hehe :D maya v.

haze said...

I love dates but it's kinda rich. It says that "Each date provides 23 calories, and is a good source of carbohydrate, fiber, and potassium, also providing some calcium and iron along with other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. Dates do not have significant amounts of fat, cholesterol, protein, or sodium (the same for most fruits)" !

This is good for a sports enthusiast like me :D !

Aice Nice Concepts said...

wow 2000 year old date? (^_^) at first i was thinking of the date as in your date (^_^) anyway that is quite so old like adam and eve

i'm doing fine keith, you know a little bit of Tagalog now hmmm?