Ginkgo Trees Protect Shrines & Temples From Fire

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    Ever wonder why many shrines and temples in Japan have Ginkgo trees planted on their grounds? Apparently it is because the leaves of the ginkgo bilboa are fire resistant:

    On last night’s episode of “Sekai Ichi Uketai Jugyou,” they showed how gingko leaves retain more moisture than the leaves of other trees. When gingko leaves are exposed to fire, they are far less flammable:

    One famous temple that has benefited from its ginkgo trees is Tokyo’s Senso-ji:

    When fires laid waste to most of Tokyo following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, Senso-ji survived, apparently thanks to the barrier provided its ginkgo trees. In post earthquake photos, its pagoda stands out among the wreckage.  (Unfortunately, the trees could do nothing to protect the temple from being wrecked by the massive firestorm unleashed by the infamous March 10, 1945 American bombing raid. )

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