Ginkgo tree in planter. (Courtesy San Diego Botanic Garden)

ENCINITAS — This month, San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG) joins in partnership and unity with Green Legacy Hiroshima (GLH) Initiative to dedicate a newly planted ginkgo tree descended from a mother tree that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima more than 70 years ago.

The Survivor Tree Commemoration will take place at the garden on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 4:15 p.m., corresponding to the exact time in Pacific Standard Time that the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. The ceremonial event will also include guest speakers as well as a community wish writing activity for attendees to participate in.

A San Diego Botanic Garden staff member helps to plant the descendant ginkgo tree. (Courtesy SDBG)

GLH is a global campaign aimed at spreading the universal messages of caution and hope that the unique survivor trees of Hiroshima represent. Known in Japanese as hibakujumoku (被爆樹木), these survivor trees bring awareness to the dangers of arms of mass destruction, and nuclear weapons in particular, as well as the sacred character of humankind and the resilience of nature.

Currently, seeds and saplings from the A-bombed trees are growing in more than 40 countries in a sustained, long-term campaign, joining other efforts to establish a nuclear-free and more ecological planet.

The result of a multi-year partnership with GLH, San Diego Botanic Garden received its ginkgo as a seedling from Shukkeien garden in Japan in 2020, and was it was planted at SDBG last June.

Guest speakers and representatives from Green Legacy Hiroshima will be in attendance for the tree dedication on Aug. 5. In addition, visitors are invited to take part in a community wish-writing and leaf-rubbing activity where they can express written or drawn representations of wishes for the future.

Ginkgo mother tree at Shukkeien garden in Japan. (Courtesy Green Legacy Hiroshima)

“The hibakujumoku have an amazing ability to simultaneously commemorate the devastation wrought by the bombing of Hiroshima and instill a profound sense of hope in the future. If trees can survive such an event, and their progeny can be shared across the world, there’s clearly so much we can do together to make the world a better place for people and plants,” said SDBG President and CEO Ari Novy, Ph.D. “We are honored to be part of this initiative and invite the community to join us in commemorating the history, legacy, and symbol of peace that this beautiful tree represents.”

Novy was part of a select group of plant scientists and botanic garden experts invited by GLH to visit Hiroshima in November 2022. The scientists visited various sites of the survivor trees throughout the city and helped gather seeds to preserve and grow second-generation survivor trees around the world, making it a truly global partnership.

Often referred to as a living fossil, the ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the oldest living tree species with the ability to live up to 1,000 years. The planting symbolizes a hopeful opportunity to continue the lineage of survivor trees for hundreds, potentially thousands, of years to come.

Select portions of the garden will be accessible until 6 p.m. for this event, with the last entry at 4:30 p.m. It is recommended that visitors arrive before the event start time if they would like to visit the full garden. For more information about San Diego Botanic Garden, visit the website at

Established in 1970, SDBG is a 37-acre urban oasis located in Encinitas, just north of San Diego. The garden’s four miles of trails and 8,000-square-foot glass conservatory display more than 5,300 plant species and varieties. A premier institution for botanical science and conservation, SDBG is actively involved in conservation horticulture, botany, and applied plant sciences to address the biggest local and global challenges, from biodiversity loss to climate change, food insecurity to environmental degradation.

SDBG has the largest public bamboo collection in North America; gardens representing different regions and flora of the world; and demonstration gardens showcasing fruits and vegetables, water-smart ornamentals, and native plants.Through an array of educational programming, events and activities for both children and adults, the garden aims to create, share and apply plant wisdom to the world.

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The GLH Initiative is a global volunteer campaign, aiming to disseminate the universal message of trees that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Created in 2011 by two friends, Nassrine Azimi and Tomoko Watanabe, GLH shares worldwide the double message of caution and hope that the unique survivor trees of Hiroshima (and ultimately Nagasaki) represent, recalling on the one hand the dangers of arms of mass destruction and nuclear weapons in particular, and on the other hand the sacred character of mankind and the resilience of nature.

Currently seeds and saplings from the A-bombed trees are growing in more than 30 countries in a sustained, long-term (1,000-year) campaign, joining other efforts for a nuclear-free and more ecological planet.

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