Jeju's Ancient Majesty: National Initiative Launched to Preserve 270-Year-Old King Cherry Tree | Be Korea-savvy

Jeju’s Ancient Majesty: National Initiative Launched to Preserve 270-Year-Old King Cherry Tree

265살 최고령 제주 왕벚나무

JEJU, Nov. 29 (Korea Bizwire) – A comprehensive initiative is underway to systematically protect an ancient king cherry tree located in Bongae-dong, Jeju City, boasting an impressive age of over 270 years, and thought to be the oldest tree of its kind. Scientifically classified as Prunus yedoensis Matsum, this cherry tree is a natural hybrid, distinct from the cultivated Japanese Yoshino cherry tree.

The designation of this tree as a national forest cultural asset will further highlight the fact that Jeju is the only place in the world where king cherry trees are native. 


The tree, a hybrid of Prunus speciosa and Prunus pendula f. ascendens, has been recognized by the National Forest Cultural Asset Review Committee, which operates under the Korea Forest Service. In September, it was declared that the 272-year-old king cherry tree would receive the prestigious designation of a national forest cultural asset. 

The Korea Forest Service emphasized the ecological, scenic, and academic significance of the king cherry tree, underscoring the need for systematic management to ensure its preservation at the national level, as neglect could lead to its demise. 

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To safeguard this natural treasure, Jeju Island authorities are planning to install protective facilities around the cherry tree and create a designated tourist trail, transforming it into a key tourist attraction.

Discovered in 2016 by the Warm Temperate and Subtropical Forest Research Center, which operates an affiliated entity under the National Institute of Forest Science, the tree’s age was estimated through the extraction and analysis of wood chips. 

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The findings revealed an average annual growth of 2.85±0.96 millimeters. Standing at an impressive height of 15.5 meters with a base circumference of 4.49 meters, the cherry tree holds the distinction of being the largest of its kind on record. 

Further investigations into meteorological factors dating back to 1923, the inception of meteorological observations on Jeju Island, disclosed a correlation between the tree’s growth rate and climate variables. Notably, the tree exhibited slower growth in warmer years and thrived in years with higher humidity. 

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An official from the Warm Temperate and Subtropical Forest Research Center emphasized the biological value of this finding, affirming that Jeju Island stands as the exclusive native habitat for this unique species. Consequently, the tree holds significance as a valuable resource for determining the species’ natural life span.

Image credit: Yonhap, Warm-temperate and Subtropical Forest Research Center, Korea National Arboretum /

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