Seeds from tree 'which survived Hiroshima bombing' grown in Glasgow

Ginkgo seeds, harvested from a tree which survived the 1945 bombing, are being nurtured at Glasgow's Botanic Gardens.

Seeds from tree ‘which survived Hiroshima atomic bomb’ being grown at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens Glasgow City Council

Seeds from a tree which survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima are being grown in Glasgow.

The seeds, which were harvested from a Ginkgo tree in Hiroshima which survived the bombing in 1945, were gifted to Glasgow City Council as part of an international peace initiative.

The tiny saplings, which will grow into the ‘survivor tree’, currently stand between 15 and 20 centimetres tall, and when bigger will be planted out in the city’s parks.

In an “extraordinary coincidence”, Hiro Shimai – who grew up around 30km from Hiroshima and moved to Scotland in January to take up a job as curator at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens – is among the staff who is nurturing them.

Hiro Shimai grew up close to Hiroshima. Glasgow City Council

He said: “I am very happy to be part of this project. Ginkgo Trees are very common in Japan.

“They are very hardy trees, but we weren’t sure if the seeds would germinate when we planted them. I was very relieved when the seedlings appeared.”

Hiro’s mum, now in her 90s, witnessed the radioactive mushroom cloud created by the horrific atomic bomb and provided food to injured people who fled the nuclear fallout.

The area where she lived escaped the worst of the atrocity thanks to the surrounding mountains.

Hiro continued: “Hopefully, they will grow to be tall and strong enough to be planted out in Kelvingrove Park where the trees could live for at least 100 years and remind everyone of the importance of peace.

“I hope no one ever forgets what happened at Hiroshima.”

The international Mayors for Peace project distributes seeds from the tree to cities around the world, to be grown on and planted out as lasting symbols of peace.

Glasgow’s Lord Provost, councillor Jacqueline McLaren, said: “Glasgow is proud to be a member of Mayors for Peace and we’re honoured to receive seeds from the survivor tree.

“It is an extraordinary coincidence that Hiro works in Glasgow and is one of the staff taking care of the saplings.

“The trees, and everything they represent, are hugely significant and it must be especially important for Hiro.

“I hope the saplings grow tall and strong and can’t wait to see them planted out in a prominent place in the city where they will stand as living memorials to all those killed and injured by the bomb and also serve as a reminder about the futility of war.”

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