The struggle to keep a plant alive is real, but this extraordinary bonsai tree has been alive for 391 years.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the 391-year-old tree, which was planted in 1625, has survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack of 1945 that left 140,000 people dead.
Currently housed in the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., the tree was donated in 1976 as gift to the United States by bonsai master Masaru Yamaki, according to The Independent.
Yamaki, his family and the tree had all been indoors, just a couple of miles from the spot where the bomb detonated, information that was unknown until 2001 when his grandsons came to visit the exhibition.
Yamaki’s grandsons, Shigeru, 21, and Akira, 20, came up to an on-duty volunteer at the time, Yoshiko Tucker, asking her for directions to where the white pine (pinus parvifolia) was located. They revealed the remarkable history of the bonsai, which was given to the museum before they were born.
The tree has recently attracted a lot of attention on Reddit due to its age and history.
Kathleen Emerson-Dell, assistant curator at the arboretum, told National Geographic that the tree was not given because of the events in Hiroshima in 1945:
“It was a gift of friendship, and connection—the connection of two different cultures,” said Emerson-Dell. “There’s some connection with a living being that has survived on this earth through who knows what. I’m in its presence, and it was in the presence of other people from long ago. It’s like touching history.”
According to Bonsai Dude, a bonsai plant has the same lifespan as its parent trees. For example, some trees slowly wither away once it reaches 100, while other species in the wild can live up to 5,000 years.