Seeds of peace - Singapore presented with saplings from tree that survived Hiroshima

Damaged by the Hiroshima atomic bomb blasts 69 years ago, a camphor tree in the Japanese city managed to grow new shoots and produce seeds again.

Some of those seeds were grown to saplings, and two have now been planted in Singapore for the first time, as part of an international programme, the Green Legacy Hiroshima initiative, started in 2011 by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (Unitar) and the Asian Network of Trust Hiroshima (ANT-Hiroshima) to promote peace and abolish nuclear weapons.

One was planted on Tuesday afternoon at Tembusu College at the National University of Singapore's University Town.

The hip-high plant was grown from a seed and cared for over a year-and-a-half, by eight students from the residential college, who worked with staff from the Singapore Botanic Gardens to look after the seedling.

The other stands in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, near a camphor tree planted by the then-Japanese prime minister in 1983.

At the planting ceremony, Tembusu College rector Professor Tommy Koh said the sapling should represent care for the environment as well as world peace: "We want peace between nations but we also want peace between men, women and nature."

Professor Shin-ichi Uye of the Green Legacy Hiroshima initiative said young plants grown from seeds of bombed Hiroshima trees such as camphor, persimmon and gingko are now growing at partner botanical gardens, schools, and universities in 18 countries, including Singapore. "We are hoping that the partners and the offspring of the trees will act as ambassadors of peace," he said.