Arboretum to plant Hiroshima trees as part of global legacy

Batsford Arboretum in Gloucestershire has germinated seeds from trees that survived the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima in Japan 70 years ago.

Image: Batsford Arboretum
Image: Batsford Arboretum

The seeds, which come from a ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) and a Kurogane or round-leaved holly (Ilex rotunda), were sent from Green Legacy Hiroshima (GLH), set up to safeguard the surviving trees and educate on the meaning of their existence, following a request from Batsford's Head Gardener Matthew Hall.

GLH, which was founded in 2011, now oversees the safeguarding of around 170 trees across 55 locations within a 2km radius of the blast's ground zero. They are cared for by a range of authorities, botanists, citizens' groups and individuals and are all labelled with "Hibakujumoku" meaning "survivor tree".

Hall said: "I read about the GLH project and thought it would be an honour to grow seeds from an A-bombed tree, so that Batsford could be part of the GLH initiative."

The ginkgo tree from which the seed was taken is more than 200 years old and sits within the city's Shukkeien Garden. Its seeds were sown in Batsford's nursery in June and have successfully germinated. Around 18 gingko saplings are intended to be planted out within the arboretum by spring 2017. The holly seeds are yet to be sown.

GLH has so far sent seeds of the trees to botanical gardens, schools, embassies and other institutions in 25 countries.

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