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Ice-Age Campion Comes To Life Again

By LarryR
March 18, 2013

Growing at this very moment at the Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow is a plant whose original tissue came from a 31,800-year-old specimen of Silene stenophylla (narrow-leafed campion).

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Mar 17, 2013 6:13 PM CST
Thread OP
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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What an amazing thing to read, and how exciting to think there may be many more Ice Age plants to be found.
I tried to enlarge the photo by clicking on it. The box opens but no photos shows.
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Mar 17, 2013 8:01 PM CST
Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN (Zone 7b)
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I love reading stories like this. It's nice to hear of people saving something, rather than destroying it for a change! Hurray!
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Mar 18, 2013 12:10 AM CST
Name: Linda Williams
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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I had heard about this before. In a world where humanity is stamping out other species right and left, the irony of bringing back something from an ancient ice age boggles the mind. Especially since the earth is getting warmer every year!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
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Mar 18, 2013 2:00 PM CST
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
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Pretty little flower.

Gee...maybe we'll get to see unicorns again Whistling Rolling my eyes. Whistling
Each cloud has a silver lineing if only you look for it.
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Mar 18, 2013 5:22 PM CST
Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
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I just read about this today in The Smithsonian Magazine. Amazing! Jurassic Park wasn't too far off the mark after all:)
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
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Mar 18, 2013 7:46 PM CST
Name: Sheryl
Hot, hot, hot, Feenix, AZ (Zone 9b)
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Careful what you ask for, Gin-gin!!! Rolling on the floor laughing
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Mar 19, 2013 12:09 AM CST
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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Very cool article! Thanks Larry I tip my hat to you.
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Mar 19, 2013 11:02 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
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Thanks, all, for your kind comments. It's truly amazing that some plant tissues--and some seeds as well--can cling to life for millennia, given the right conditions.

Sorry about the photo's clickability, Lynn. Hopefully, this one will work:

Thumb of 2013-03-19/LarryR/095022

I must have had Siberia on the brain when I wrote the picture's caption. The plant name should read S. stenophylla.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
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Mar 19, 2013 12:52 PM CST
Thread OP
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
Such sweet little blooms.
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Mar 20, 2013 5:10 AM CST
Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
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Larry, when you mentioned seeds, it jogged my memory about our petunias. We've lived in this house for 33 years now, and for about the first 20 I did not plant any flowers. Then when the flower bug bit me, I started digging in the grass in front of our house. Petunias have come up on every side of the house and they are everywhere now! I had no idea seeds would lie dormant that long... and now I realize that 20 years is really not that long after all!

Thumb of 2013-03-20/blue23rose/957009
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
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Mar 20, 2013 12:25 PM CST
Thread OP
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
Wow, those are all seedlings from self sowing?
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Mar 20, 2013 12:55 PM CST
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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Hurray! I tip my hat to you.
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Mar 20, 2013 3:56 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
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What a wonderful story, Vickie! I recognize those petunias as the same old-fashioned variety my parents grew when I was growing up. They are very tenacious, even springing up in sidewalk cracks and still blooming their heads off. Green Grin!
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
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Mar 20, 2013 5:03 PM CST
Name: Linda Williams
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Organic Gardener Bookworm Enjoys or suffers hot summers Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs
Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder
Wow, Vickie! Imagine those seeds waiting all that time...for someone to show some interest in growing something. Flower power!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Last edited by LindaTX8 Mar 20, 2013 5:04 PM Icon for preview
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Mar 21, 2013 4:21 AM CST
Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
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Thanks all. Funny thing is, I didn't think I liked petunias! They were just one of those old plants that my Mom used to plant and I wanted new and different. However, my thoughts have changed tremendously on that in the last 15 years.

Lynn, just like when I started digging in the front of the house, these came up on their own when we dug up the west side of our garage. I put in a sitting garden and the petunias started coming up, but I didn't plant petunias! At least not until a few years ago and I bought some Wave petunias.

I have to admit, now that I have them I purposely let them go to seed and have started spreading them in other places. They bloomed well into late November last year.

Larry, I was wondering if there was a name to this variety or if I should just call them the 'old fashioned petunias', lol! They certainly have a distinct aroma after a rain shower and the variety of shades of pinks, purples, and whites are beautiful.
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
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Mar 21, 2013 9:26 AM CST
Thread OP
Name: Lynn
Oregon City, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level
That is a petunia treasure in my book.
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Mar 21, 2013 12:02 PM CST
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Thumbs up
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Mar 21, 2013 11:59 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener Tip Photographer Composter
Organic Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Cat Lover
Vicki, I believe the old fashioned petunia is known scientifically as Petunia × hybrida. The identity of the original parents is not certain, but a good guess is that they were P. axillaris and P. integrifolia.

Thumb of 2013-03-22/LarryR/7bb510
axillaris

Thumb of 2013-03-22/LarryR/c6fc89
integrifolia

If you're interested, here is an article on petunias I published some time ago: http://garden.org/ideas/manage...
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Last edited by LarryR Mar 22, 2013 12:01 AM Icon for preview
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Mar 22, 2013 5:15 AM CST
Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oh thank you Larry! Those two petunias look exactly like mine. I always wondered why it seemed like some of the petunias were thicker and spread better than others.

That is a fascinating article and what a long history petunias have. Not nearly as long as Campion though! The black and gold Phantom petunia sounds beautiful. I am shocked that someone would pay $40/ounce for petunia seeds in 1893, but I guess that was the latest and greatest at the time and hybridizers were willing to pay premium price.
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
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Mar 25, 2013 7:48 PM CST
Name: Renée
Northern KY
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Kentucky Cat Lover Dog Lover Sempervivums
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Wow, that's such a pretty little plant--thanks for that article, Larry!
Congrats on the surprise petunias, Vickie!

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