Flowers from the Ganjoji "space tree" also look a bit different, containing five petals, as opposed to about 30 like their parent trees.
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Japanese astronauts took hundreds of cherry tree seeds with them to the International Space Station in 2008-2009, after which they were planted in several locations throughout Japan. About 265 seeds were taken from a celebrated old tree outside a Buddhist temple in Gifu, in central Japan, that is thought to be 1,250 years old. One of the space seeds was sprouted near the temple, but oddly, shot up more quickly then other cherry trees of its variety (that weren't taken to space). And now the tree is blooming, at four years of age -- about six years ahead of schedule. "We are amazed to see how fast it has grown," Masahiro Kajita, chief priest at the Ganjoji temple, told AFP. The seeds were planted at a total of 14 locations, and blooms have already developed in four locations.
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