It is another history in the making!
Coincidence played an important role in the revival of the world’s most remarkable date palm trees. It started back in 1986, when Dr. Sarah Sallon fell ill while she was working in India.
Ironic because modern-day antibiotics weren’t working on her. She believes that traditional herbal remedies were the ones that cured her instead.
She said, “It was just amazing. It was so incredible. And then I got very interested. There’s nothing like a doctor cured of their problem to get them interested in something.”
When she went back to her job at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, she began searching for medicinal plants. Luckily, she found tons of them, but she also learned about the disappearances of ancient medicinal plants.
She said, “They’re just historical ghosts. Like the famous date plantations along the Dead Sea, 2,000 years ago — described by Pliny; described by Josephus, the first-century historian. They’re not there anymore. They just vanished!”
A new mission
Dr. Sallon realized seeds from those ancient trees were still in existence.
The seeds were known to have been recovered from some archaeological sites. So she paid the archaeologists a visit and proposed to them to plant the ancient seeds again.
“They thought I was mad!” she said. “They didn’t think that this was even conceivable.”
She still pushed the idea and eventually, she was able to convince a few archaeologists to provide her with some of these seeds.
More than a decade ago, Dr. Sallon and Elaine Solowey, a researcher at the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies, planted some of these ancient seeds.
“Six weeks later, little green shoots appeared!” she said.
A tree grew and they named it Methuselah.
However, Methuselah had a problem.
At that time, date trees were uncommon and they were either male or female. That means each tree would either make pollen or fertile flowers. Both are required to produce fruit though. With all that being said, it only implies one thing.
Methuselah alone will not be able to reproduce these ancient trees.
He needed a partner.
Dr. Sallon found another archeologist who dug up a whole trove of ancient date seeds. They found them during a dig in Qumran, where the ancient texts commonly known as the Dead Sea scrolls were said to be discovered.
In the journal of Science Advances, Dr. Sarah and her colleagues announced that they were able to grow an additional six trees using the ancient seeds and, thankfully, two of them were female.
She jokingly said, “You could say that we found Methuselah a wife.”
The trees need to bloom first and bear a flower, and once they do, the researchers will take pollen from Methuselah to fertilize the flowers. Hopefully, if that happens, they will just need to wait for the fruit to grow.
These trees are likely the same ones that bore the kind of dates that the people in the Bible ate.
And of course, that includes none other than Jesus. When she discussed this exciting possibility, Dr. Sallon said that these dates, according to the ancient writers,
“…were known for their wonderful sweetness, their very large size, and their ability to be stored for a long time, so they actually were exported around the Roman empire.”
It’s truly another historic achievement.
For Dr. Sallon, this is way beyond just a science experiment. It’s a breakthrough to know that the chance of growing these date-bearing trees is possible.
Moreover, to know that these delicious fruits that existed thousands of years ago were the same fruits that Jesus likely ate when he walked the Earth is simply amazing.
Watch the video below to see Dr. Sallon’s progress on their experiment with these ancient trees.
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