Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 16:41 UK

Seeds grow well after 40 years

Denis Moore and his 40 year parsley seeds
Denis Moore admires his parsley seedlings

A shopkeeper who found a packet of seeds from the 1960s in a drawer said he was amazed when they germinated.

Denis Moore had had the seeds since he moved into the village shop in Cheswardine, Shropshire, 31 years ago.

They were produced by a company called Webb and had a 6d price label - equivalent to two-and-a-half pence.

Mr Moore planted them and after a few weeks the giant curly parsley started to grow. He now has about 25 seedlings growing in pots in his garden.


He said he thought the seeds must be nearly 40 years old because the price on the packet was in old money - decimal currency was introduced in 1971.

Mr Moore said the person who ran the shop before he took over sold seeds and this was the very last of the old stock.

He initially planted the parsley on cotton wool, but nothing happened so he put them in a tray of compost and left them for another three weeks, but still nothing happened.

Mr Moore said: "My paperboy said 'Have you ever heard the saying about parsley seeds, that they go down to the devil and back nine times before they grow'.

"So I gave them another three weeks and they came up."

He got in touch with Webb's of Stourbridge, the company that produced the seeds. Executive Chairman, Ed Webb said he was delighted that the seeds had lasted so long.

Matt Daws, a seed ecologist at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, said the seeds must have been kept in ideal cool and dry conditions to have survived.

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