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The Methusalah Tree

A 2000 year old seed...
The tree nicknamed Methuselah is one of the most important plants in the Biblical collection since this tree was sprouted from a seed almost 2,000 years old that was discovered during a dig on Masada.

It is believed that Methuselah is a Judean date palm, a variation of the date palm that vanished in the first century AD.

- more photos of the Tree -

 

Preserving the Past...
The AIES at Kibbutz Ketura is involved in a program to collect, propagate, investigate, and preserve Biblical plants.

Many of the plants esteemed in Biblical times as aromatics, incense, and spices also have important medicinal characteristics that should be explored.

These plants include:

  • Myrrh Tree (Comiphora abyssinica, Comiphora myrrah)
  • Frankincense Tree (Boswellia sp.)
  • Balm of Gilead Tree (Commiphora giladensis, Commiphora opobasalam)
  • Jericho Balm tree (Balanities aegypticus)

as well as many annual plants, bushes, and shrubs indigenous to Israel such as Wormwood (Artemisia sp.) and Capers (Caperis sp.).

Some of these plants are in danger of extinction. Others survive only in botanical gardens.

In addition to studying and testing the Biblical plants to identify medicinal compounds that may be useful today-- a major aim of the project is to preserve and propagate the plants and return them to their native ranges.