Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 42: 115-116 (1742-1743)

IV. A Letter from Martin Triewald, F. R. S. Captain of Mechanics, and Military Architect to the King of Sweden,
to C. Mortimer, M. D. Sec. R. S. concerning the Vegetation of Melon-Seeds Forty-two Years old.

Read May 20, 1742.


HAVING at present an Opportunity of writing, I must acquaint you with an Experiment I made this Year, relating to Vegetation, which was as follows: Secretary Haereus, of this Place, having a large Collection of Natural Curiosities, amongst which he has likewise collected a great Number of foreign Seeds, and finding he had Melon-seeds that were laid up in a Paper in the Year 1700. I was curious to try if they had retained their vegetative Quality, and accordingly the 21st of February last, I planted myself Twenty-four of them in a separate Hot-bed, of which I had Twenty-one good Plants, which, after they were planted in a new-made Hot-bed, shewed Flowers before they began to branch themselves, and their Branches were very narrow, yet produced early and plenty of good Melons. This Experiment shews not only how long Melon-seeds retain their vegetative Quality, but likewise that good Melon-seeds cannot well be too old. I know it is no new thing to make use of old Melon-seeds rather than new, but I never heard of any body trying so old as these. So if you think this Experiment worth taking Notice of in the Transactions, shall be obliged to you, remaining, with infinite Respect,

Honoured Sir,
Your most obedient,
and most humble Servant,

M. Triewald, F. R. S.
Stockholm, Nov. 16, 1741.