Story 2014-04-15 3HY Cherry trees blossom six years early after a trip to space

Cherry trees blossom six years early after a trip to space

Anonymous Coward
in science on (#3HY)
story imageWidely reported this week is a phenomenon that has taken the scientific community by storm. In November 2008, 265 cherry stones (seeds) were sent to the ISS by Japan. They came back to Earth in July the following year. Some were sent for laboratory tests, but most were ferried back to their places of origin, and a selection was planted at nurseries near the Ganjoji temple.

By April this year, the "space cherry tree" had grown to around four metres (13 feet) tall, and suddenly produced nine flowers, each with just five petals, compared with about 30 on flowers of the parent tree. It normally takes about 10 years for a cherry tree of the similar variety to bear its first buds. Cross-pollination with another species could not be ruled out, but a lack of data is hampering an explanation for the early bloom. Says a Miho Tomioka, a spokewoman for the project's organizer :
The seeds were sent to the ISS as part of an educational and cultural project to let children gather the stones and learn how they grow into trees and live on, after returning from space. We had expected the (Ganjoji) tree to blossom about 10 years after planting, when the children come of age.

Read more at the Japan Times , Engadget , or Discovery .

[Ed. note: Discovery is also running an article on how to have sex in space . Tech journalism isn't what it used to be.]
Reply 6 comments

Interesting (Score: 3, Funny)

by on 2014-04-15 22:22 (#12X)

But how do space cherries taste? I could see a lucrative specialty ice cream opportunity here: Our cherry tastes out of this world!

Wait, ambiguous phrase! (Score: 1)

by on 2014-04-16 10:09 (#134)

So, does the cherry blossom normally have 30 petals, or does the cherry tree normally have 30 blooms instead of 9?

Pedantic minds want to know.

Re: Wait, ambiguous phrase! (Score: 3, Informative)

by on 2014-04-16 10:11 (#135)

In fact the article is much more specific "..suddenly produced nine flowers, each with the normal five petals, compared with about 30 flowers on the parent tree."

Jokes on us... (Score: 4, Funny)

by on 2014-04-16 12:32 (#139)

burst into blossom on April 1, possibly a full six years ahead of Mother Nature’s normal schedule.

Pffffft....Those crazy cherry trees and their jokes :D

a gravity explanation? (Score: 1)

by on 2014-04-17 04:06 (#13N)

Could gravity resist or regulate the growth rate? So that in the lower gravity environment the growth is less resisted and therefore faster. I did not rtfa.

Hmmmm (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-04-22 12:45 (#151)

I used to live on an orchard. Rule of thumb was that cherries to 7 years to produce fruit, and could blossom before that. Article sounds bogus -- "wonders of science" type of thing.