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'Cherry tree from space' mystery baffles Japan
Ms Sans Serif
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A cosmic mystery is uniting monks and scientists in Japan after a cherry tree grown from a seed that orbited the Earth for eight months bloomed years earlier than expected -- and with very surprising flowers. The four-year-old sapling -- grown from a cherry stone that spent time aboard the International Space Station (ISS) -- burst into blossom on April 1, possibly a full six years ahead of Mother Nature's normal schedule.
"We are amazed to see how fast it has grown," Masahiro Kajita, chief priest at the Ganjoji temple in Gifu, told AFP by telephone. "A stone from the original tree had never sprouted before. We are very happy because it will succeed the old tree, which is said to be 1,250 years old."
It normally takes about 10 years for a cherry tree of the similar variety to bear its first buds.
The Ganjoji temple sapling is not the only early-flowering space cherry tree. Of the 14 locations in which the pits were replanted, blossoms have been spotted at four places.
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