THE duration of vitality of seed depends upon a variety of circumstances. Some seeds will retain their germinating power for an almost indefinite period. The so-called mummy wheat is said to have been raised from grain taken from an Egyptian sarcophagus. But whether this be true or not, it is, however, not impossible that some seeds may retain their germinative force for a much longer period than that for which we have unimpeachable evidence.

A humid atmosphere is very destructive to seed life, but exposure to a moderately dry air acts beneficially. The degree of cold a dormant embryo will bear with impunity, providing it has not been saturated with liquid, seems to be practically unlimited.

Perfectly ripened seeds of different plants vary greatly in their germinating force. 

Some seeds, such as coffee, etc., must be sown soon after they are collected; others, like those of the birch and sycamore, will rarely germinate the second year; while others retain the power for an unknown period.

Radish seeds have been known to grow freely when seventeen years old, and it is also recorded that kidney beans one hundred years old, and rye one hundred and forty years old, have germinated. So far as experience goes, prolonged vitality seems to depend on the nature of the pericarp, testa, or albumen, though there are some exceptions. 

Ready Print.


THE orange is the longest-lived fruit-tree known. It is reputed to have attained the 

age of three hundred years, and been known to flourish and bear fruit for more than a hundred years. No other fruit-tree will sustain itself and produce fruit so well under neglect and rough treatment. It begins to bear about the third year after budding, and by the fifth year produces an abundant crop, though the yield is gradually increased by age and favorable circumstances. The early growth of the orange is rapid, and by its tenth year it has grown more than it will in the next fifty, so far as its breadth and height are concerned; but it is age that multiplies its fruit-stems.