Byōdōin Hōōdō Aji no Ike – Lagerstroemia indica pollen found hundreds of years before expected

17 Jan

Byōdōin (平等院) announced on May 24, 2010, that Lagerstroemia indica pollen had been uncovered at Aji no Ike (阿字池), the pond stretching on the eastern side of the Hōōdō (鳳凰堂; the so-called “Phoenix Hall”), from a soil layer deposited around 940 (mid-Heian period). The temple, judging from the date of the soil layer, suggests that such men as Fujiwara no Michinaga (藤原道長) and his son, Fujiwara no Yorimichi (藤原頼通), would have personally seen the tree.

As the tree was traditionally believed to have been introduced from China in the early Edo period, this find suggests that  Lagerstroemia indica was grown domestically at least 600 years before the previously accepted date.  Lagerstroemia indica is a deciduous tree (落葉高木) originating in the southern part of China and flowering from July to October.

In September 2009, researchers took a sample (measuring 68 centimeters deep and 8 centimeters in diameter) of the sedimentary layer, which dated post-790s,  and subjected it to radiocarbon dating and pollen analysis. Lagerstroemia indica pollen was found continuously in layers from circa 940.

【京都発】平安時代からサルスベリ植栽? 平等院の池で花粉採取
2010.5.25 00:00

Article retrieved 2010/11/29

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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


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