Saturday, January 07, 2006

Papyrus seeds or plant wanted

Does anyone know a good source to obtain papyrus seeds, or alternatively a full plant? Any advice for someone living in the north of Scotland who wants to grow them?

11 comments:

  1. Just an anecdote; The first time I visited the INTF in Münster I went on various excursions in the beautiful town. There in the fantastic botanic garden behind the town's castle was a papyrus plant with information supplied by Kurt Aland about its use in ancient times as a writing material, etc.

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  2. Thanks, Tommy. I've been to the wonderful botanic garden in Münster, but had missed that. I'll have another look when I'm there in March.

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  3. In his book, "The Miracles of Exodus" by Colin J. Humphreys (Haper 2003) he idenditified the 'Red Sea' as an inland extension of the gulf of Aqaba, where he could still find papyrus plants growing and also mentioned plants growing in the island (?Malta).

    kwonbbl

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  4. Whether or not papyrus still grows in nature is not an issue. It does. There is still plenty in Egypt, as well as in the Hula (sp?) basin in northern Israel. But the Israeli variety does not have the familiar triangular cross-section that the Egyptian papyrus does. Here's a place that sells seeds. http://seedrack.com/03.html
    I found the link on a google search. I can't vouche for the business. And I only assume there are other similar options.

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  5. Kwonbbl,

    The place Humphreys mentions is Syracuse (Miracles of the Exodus, pp. 198-99) for reeds. The book itself is a great read, though on the textual criticism of the numbers at the Exodus I do have to disagree with him. Don't miss his reconciliation of the Synoptic and Johannine passover chronologies, which should be out in the next couple of years (he's drafted six chapters so far).

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  6. Eric, Thanks for the URL. I used this as a basis to perform searches that led me to something more local. Anyway, my Cyperus papyrus is now on order from www.jungleseeds.co.uk. I'll let you know how they get on growing up here.

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  7. I highly recommend some study on lighting, temperature, and humidity before you jump into it. I grow plants a fair bit and on something as exotic as papyrus, you will need to significantly change the environment for the plants to thrive. Given your intentions with the plant, I'd say those factors are even more important than when I grow plants for food or beauty.

    A little research on the front end (types of growlights, etc.) will really help you long term. Perhaps there's a botanist or gardener around Abdn who might take an interest...I think I remember seeing a biblical plants garden near King's when I was there.

    Grow twice as many as you think you'll need, and experiment on humidity and lighting.

    Also, try different kinds of soil, if you can. I don't think papyrus flowers, so coffee grinds may be a good option as far as fertilizer goes.

    One warning, though--significant lighting efforts can result in a clear and consistent increase in avg elec. usage. Police regularly study for such jumps in order to find folks growing pot, so be prepared to have your home searched, your manuscripts and files and your sock drawer tossed.

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  8. Thanks for the warning.

    We're just about to sign up for wind and solar power at home, so it may be that the police will not have any way to detect my papyri if I decide to grow them at home rather than in the office.

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  9. Actually, you can't do much wrong growing a papyrus plant. Just make sure it is not too cold, the roots have plenty of space and always can reach water. An old bucket filled with light soil and a permanent layer of 1 cm. (at the bottom) should do. You must be a real scholar to mess up a papyrus.
    You can easily get more plants by taking a shoot and putting it upside down in a bottle with water. As soon as some roots appear you can plant it. Growing from seed will actually be harder than multiplying them the above way. Most garden centres will have some variety.

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  10. The layer of 1 cm in the previous post is supposed to be water.

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  11. Thanks, Dirk. If I didn't know I might be wondering what your previous career was.

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