Methuselah the Palm Tree
Last week I brought you news of Mikhail, the Dancing Vampire Skeleton. This week it’s Methuselah, the Judean Date Palm. This wee tree is named after the figure credited in the Bible as being the oldest living human being ever. In the book of Genesis, Methuselah, the father of Enoch (of the apocryphal BOOK OF ENOCH fame, the book where we learn all about the “Nephilim” or “Fallen-Down-Ones”) and grandfather of Noah (the guy who built the Ark) is said to have attained an age of 969 years. How old, then, is Methuselah the Tree? It has its namesake beat by a good millennium!
To be fair, though, Methuselah the Elder was only planted in 2005, so technically we could say it is only twelve. A paltry twelve! But Methuselah was a seed, sitting in a jar in the palace of Herod the Great at the fortress of Masada, site of the mass suicide of hundreds of Jewish insurgents in 74 AD. The seeds, which were preserved by the dry climate, were 2000 years old, give or take a century. Despite the great age, the seed that was to become Methuselah sprouted when planted, and today is a healthy ten-foot tree capable of “breeding” with modern date palms. It may thus reintroduce its subspecies, which was extinct, to the region.
Did all that blood spilled at Masada have anything to do with the seed remaining alive? Probably not. But it makes for a cool story, dunnit?