MCT via Getty Images
Erika Owen
August 04, 2015

This Thursday marks the 70th anniversary of the 1945 Hiroshima bombing and Washington D.C.'s National Aboretum is celebrating with some help from a particularly old bonsai tree. The Japanese white pine on display may not look like much, but it might just be the toughest little tree in the world. Not only is it 390 years old, but at one point in its absurdly long life it survived an atomic bomb. The bonsai was less than two miles away in a commerical nursery that belonged to the Yamaki family when the bomb went off. According to the Washington Post, news footage taken after the explosion shows the bonsai up against a wall, untouched—everyone in the building were also unharmed.

The plant was donated to the Arboretum in 1976 by Masaru Yamaki as part of a 53-part gift. It wasn't until Yamaki's two grandsons showed up at the museum in March of 2001 to check in on their family tree and share their passed-down tales about the legendary bonsai that the museum got for a feel for the plant's history. The white pine is part of the museum permanent collection and will be on display year-round. For more information on the museum and what you can see, check out the website.

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.

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