From the times of Jesus to the dawn of the Common Era, the Judea palm trees widely cultivated throughout the region. These trees became a staple crop in the Kingdom of Judea, and came to serve as a symbol of good fortune. According to the Old Testament, King David named his daughter, Tamar, after the plant’s name in Hebrew.
They were also planted for their sweet fruit, and for the cool shade they offered from the scorching desert sun. This species of palm became extinct more than 1,500 years ago, Treehugger writes. But researchers managed to sprout a Judean date palm from ancient seeds that were unearthed by archeologists in the 1960s.
The seeds had been sitting in a drawer for 40 or so years when researcher Elaine Solowey decided to try and plant one in 2005. Amazingly, the multi-millennial seed did indeed sprout — producing a sapling no one had seen in centuries, becoming the oldest known tree seed to germinate.
Everyone was still kind of startled when it worked. Eight years later, the date palm is still thriving, and even flowering.