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The most resistant seeds known to mankind, Moth mullein

DR. BEAL'S SEED VIABILITY EXPERIMENT

VERBASCUM BLATARIA

The oldest carbon-14-dated seed that has grown into a viable plant was a Judean date palm seed that was about 2,000 years old when it was recovered from excavations at Herod the Great's palace on Masada in Israel. The Judean palm seed was was germinated in 2005 [17].

In spite the Judean palm seeds were a total success, in general, seeds are not always easy to keep. In cool and dry storage conditions seeds tend to last from one year (onions for example) to up to five to ten years in some others.

This means that in certain cases, mainly in endangered plant species, keeping the seeds is the main concern of botanists and researchers and the only way to preserve this natural heritage we have received.

In this article we will talk about an experiment initiated 120 years ago by Dr. William James Beal, then professor of botany and forestry at Michigan Agricultural College in East Lansing, Michigan, USA, Dr. Beal's seed viability experiment. Image: See credits under ref. [9] below.


VERBASCUM BLATTARIA

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Genus: Verbascum

Common name: Moth mullein


 

Aconitum ferox, the strongest poisonous plant

POISONOUS PLANTS

ACONITUM FEROX MONKSHOOD

Monkshood (Aconitum Ferox), is known to be the strongest poisonous plant of the Himalayas, having said that, Monkshood, is part of some Ayurvedic medicines and preparations as Mahamrutynjaya rasa, contain Aconitum Ferox, Piper nibrum and Piper longum, containing aconitine and piperine [3].

Most of the Ayurvedic formulations containing Vatsanabha (Aconitum Ferox), were traditionally prescribed as an analgesic, anti-rheumatic, appetizer and digestive [2].

The active constituent giving Monkshood this poisonous property is Pseudaconitine, an alkaloid discovered in 1878 by Wright and Luff [8] also known as nepaline (C36H51NO12) that is found in high quantities in the roots of Aconitum Ferox also known as wolfsbane and it is "extremely poisonous" [8]. Image: Monkshood and Monkeyflower by Zabet O'Casey under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0). 


ACONITUM FEROX

Family: Ranunculaceae

Genus: Aconitum

Common name: Monkshood, Vatsanabha