Kamakura Ginko Falls

Discussion in 'Plants: In the News' started by gobo, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. gobo

    gobo Active Member

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    If you've ever visited Kamakura, the ancient capital of Japan one hour from Tokyo, you've probably visited Hachimangu Shrine, which means you surely saw and admired the 1,000-year-old ginko tree at the bottom of the steps leading up to the shrine.

    A fantastic plant, and one with plenty of stories it could have told, including the part it played in hiding an assassin who slew the shogun.

    But no longer: It just collapsed, apparently due to heavy rain followed by strong gusty wind.

    Sad to hear but what a life. Long live the ginko.

    The link is in Japanese but it includes a couple of pics:

    http://mainichi.jp/select/wadai/news/20100310k0000e040045000c.html
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    As far as can be seen in view provided has similar appearance to large native conifers here, after the roots have been reduced by fungi to the point that the heavy top pulls out of the ground.

    Non-technical Japanese publications often claim astounding ages for admired individual trees, while ginkgoes are long-lived I would want someone who had bored a tree to verify the reported age of any particular one.
     
  3. gobo

    gobo Active Member

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    Good point on the scientific accuracy of ancient stories.

    Although I'm a little reluctant to go pedantic on a lovely story, Iwondered myself about its popular name in Japanese, which translates roughly into "hiding place gingko," based on the assassination incident. Wouldn't the tree have been a lot smaller in the year 1219? But then that's 791 years ago, still giving it 200 years to grow enough wood to cover a wily samurai.

    If it really happened like that. Who knows? Anyway, I expected that now it was down they would be able to count rings to settle the age issue, at least.

    To thicken the plot, I found another story quoting a prof who is suggesting they cut the tree off above the break and replant it(?)! This being the same prof who inspected it recently and found it in good health. I know tree hazard assessment is a dicey proposition (having been trained in it) but that seems beyond the pale. Unless -- another consideration for accuracy -- the reporter/translator have bunged it up. Being a journalist as well, I know how often screw-ups happen there too.

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20100312p2a00m0na008000c.html
     
  4. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Could the suggestion to replant the upper portion of the tree be an extreme example of 'dropping', ie burying it on it's side and hoping for rooted side shoots? Never heard of it in relation to something so large or old, mind you...maybe he's just saying it to buy time, until he can flee the prefecture.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  5. GreenLarry

    GreenLarry Active Member 10 Years

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    Hmmm that sounds like a bonsai technique!
    Always sad to hear of old trees falling!
     

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