Moth Mullein

Seeds of moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria) were part of a scientific long-term experiment about seed viability. In 1879, Dr. William James Beal, then a professor of botany at Michigan Agriculture College, selected seeds of 21 different plant species (including Verbascum blattaria) and placed seeds of each in separate bottles filled with sand. The bottles, left uncorked, were buried mouth down (so as not to allow moisture to reach the seeds). In the year 2000, one of these bottles was dug up, and 23 seeds of V. blattaria were planted in favorable conditions, yielding a 50% germination rate.

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