“Methuselah” Palm Grown From 2,000-Year-Old Seed Is a Father

Publication: National Geographic   Date: March 24, 2015   View Article

A male date palm tree named Methuselah that sprouted from a 2,000-year-old seed nearly a decade ago is thriving today, according to the Israeli researcher who is cultivating the historic plant.

The plant was sprouted in a laboratory in 2005, and when a National Geographic news story about the event resurfaced this week on the social media website Reddit, we decided to check in on Methuselah and see how it’s doing.

“He is a big boy now,” says Elaine Solowey, the director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel.

Fish poop boosts distant forests

Publication:   Date: March 24, 2011   View Article

The Amazon’s big fish poop seeds far from where they eat fruit, helping to maintain the genetic diversity of the tropical forest, according to new research that shines light on a little-studied mechanism of seed dispersal.

The seed excretions occur during the six- to eight-month-long flood season, when the characid fish Colossoma macropomum swim from lakes and rivers into vast floodplains where they gobble up fruit dropped by trees and shrubs.

African Trees May Be Tied to Lemurs’ Fate

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 26, 2004   View Article

On the African island nation of Madagascar, only primates called lemurs are big enough to move the seeds of many trees around and thus improve the chances of the trees’ survival.

“Lemurs are very important seed dispersers in Malagasy rainforests,” said Chris Birkinshaw, a biologist with the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis who is an expert on lemur seed dispersal.

For Seeds, Success Means Striking Out on Their Own

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 16, 2004   View Article

If seeds could talk, they might sound like recent high school graduates making a beeline for jobs and colleges as far away from their parents as possible: “See ya ‘rents, we’re outta here.”

Several studies have shown that seeds that stick too close to home have to put up with their parent’s diseases and fight with the whole family for access to life’s essentials: light, water, and nutrients.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach