Judean Date Palm

The Judean date palm is an extinct species of date palm. It has been extinct for over 1800 years! I used to be a staple food in ancient Judea. The Romans described vast forests of them when they conquered Judea! It is speculated that the climate was different in ancient Judea than modern Judea because not much grows there now. Amazingly, archaeologists unearthed some ancient seeds and one sprouted! It’s name is Methuselah and it is a male date palm. Clones were made of it, but it needs a female to reproduce and make more seeds. It grew to about 8 feet tall since 2011. The Judean date palm was very relevant to Judean culture. The Hebrew Word for it was “Tamar”.

Its likeness was engraved on shekalim, the ancient Hebrew unit of currency. According to historical sources, the taste of them was something splendid. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist of the 1st century CE, wrote that Jericho’s dates were known for their succulence and sweetness, though he distinguished a considerable variety of them and discussed several different varieties by name. Even in the fifth century BCE, Herodotus noted that the greatest importance of the Judean dates was that they were drier and less perishable than those from Egypt and thus suitable for storage and export, which is still an important distinction today.[6]When the Romans invaded ancient Judea, thick forests of date palms up to 80 feet (24 m) high and 7 miles (11 km) wide covered the Jordan River valley from the Sea of Galilee in the north to the shores of the Dead Sea in the south. The tree so defined the local economy that Emperor Vespasian celebrated the conquest by minting the “Judaea Capta“, a special bronze coin that showed the Jewish state as a weeping woman beneath a date palm. (Wikipedia)

judean palm photo

Seed of Extinct Date Palm Sprouts After 200 Years


About History Is Interesting

I like ancient and medieval history!
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