Legendary pine tree thrives in Shizuoka Pref.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A man holds a clone of the second-generation Hagoromo no Matsu pine tree in Shizuoka.

SHIZUOKA — Two clone seedlings of a Hagoromo no Matsu pine tree — on which legend has it that a heavenly maiden placed her robes — are being celebrated for their homecoming to the Miho no Matsubara pine forest in Shizuoka City.

The city and other entities had asked the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute’s Forest Tree Breeding Center in Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, to propagate the pine tree. The center grafted branches onto the tree and grew two saplings.

The seedlings will be on display at the Shizuoka City Miho no Matsubara Culture and Creativity Center Miho Shirube in the city’s Shimizu Ward through Feb. 27.

The current third-generation Hagoromo no Matsu pine tree is estimated to be 250 to 300 years old. The two saplings are a clone of the third-generation tree and of a second-generation Hagoromo no Matsu, which was cut down and no longer remains.

Both of them inherited genes to withstand wind and flood damage, and to grow well.

About 300 trees are cut down every year in the forest due to outbreaks of pests, among other reasons.

The two saplings will be planted in a special field in March and will be managed as mother trees for next-generation pine trees to restore the forest.

“I’m happy to see the regeneration of the second generation,” said Shingo Hieda, 35, an official of Miho Shirube. “I want to take good care of it.”