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Green Legacy Hiroshima Project

CAFRE

Green Legacy Hiroshima Project

Greenmount Campus has received some very special tree seeds coming all the way from Hiroshima in Japan. The seeds were collected from trees that survived the devastating Hiroshima atomic bomb some 75 years ago. Seeds of the “Hibaku-jumoku” (Japanese for survivor trees) through the Green Legacy Hiroshima Project Initiative are entrusted to partner organisations in countries around the world. Greenmount Campus is delighted to have been accepted as a suitable partner organisation and has received seeds of two tree species, the Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba) and the Oriental Plane (Platanus orientalis).

The seeds carry the double message of caution and hope, recalling both the destructive power of war but also the resilience of mankind and nature. The seedlings raised are being planted in Botanic Gardens and Colleges throughout the world as a living symbol of peace for the generations to come.

Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba).
Photo courtesy of Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative
Oriental Plane (Platanus orientalis)
Photo courtesy of Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative

Horticulture students at Greenmount, will prepare the seeds for germination in the College’s state of the art plant propagation facility. Here they will be subjected to three months of vernalisation. Once the seeds have germinated around May 2021, they will be potted up and grown on in the nursery and when large enough they will be planted in the Campus grounds, their long term care will be entrusted to the college’s skilled horticultural team.

Regular updates about the progress of the Hiroshima seeds will be posted so you can follow the excitement of their story.


October 2020

Our Gingko seeds come from a survivor tree in Shukkeien Garden which was one mile from the blast epicentre. The Ginkgo tree is more than 200 years old. It is slanting toward the hypocenter because after the blast moved outward from the city center, the air gushed back in. The trunk of the tree is about 4 meters in circumference and about 17 meters tall.

Our Oriental Plane seeds come from a survivor tree at Tenma Elementary School which was less than a mile from the blast. It was planted in 1931 by the students who were graduating that year. The school buildings were all destroyed by the bomb, and 13 teachers/staff members and 280 students died. 

You can learn more about the trees by visiting Trees in Hiroshima (unitar.org)


November 2020


The seeds were prepared by the Hiroshima Botanic Gardens in November and were posted to us. In the case of the Gingko seeds this involves removing the outer pulpy exterior to expose the nut-like shell.


December 2020


DAERA Plant Health Branch Inspector John Smyth who the inspected the seeds with CAFRE staff,  James Ross, James Crawford, John Smith, Conor Cullen and David Dowd.


FdSc Horticulture students Rebecca Gilroy and Mike Olomina preparing the seeds for stratification and vernalisation to break their dormancy. The seeds will germinate in February 2021.

February 2021


We will very carefully pot up the Ginkgo seeds from the 9cm pots into the 13cm pots, and cover them with a bit more compost. They’ll then go into the Propagation glasshouse for frost protection.

This will give us a good opportunity to inspect the seeds and sort them into groups that are likely candidates to germinate.

For example, one or two ginkgo seeds have started to expand and crack open inside the fridge, so we’d expect these to germinate.


Some of the Ginkgo seeds have been put inside the Fitotron Grow Cabinet here at 20C and 75% humidity. We hope to see some growth in the next two weeks.

The Platanus orientalis seeds will take a bit longer, we may put them straight into a Cambridge glasshouse in March and leave them in their existing 9cm pot until we see worthwhile growth. Then pot them up in May.

The Ginkgo seeds have germinated!