Posted February 10, 2019 07:06:53A new bong-filled bong in the middle of the garden at the Kota Ibuka National Park in Japan is the oldest bongo ever known, scientists say.
The oldest bonga in the Guinness Book of World Records was discovered in 2013 in Kota Ichiraku, a mountainous area about 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of Tokyo, said Yoshihiro Sakamoto, a researcher at the Japan Botanical Garden.
A scientist at the plant’s laboratory, who declined to give his name for safety reasons, said the tree has more than a thousand years of history and that the oldest known bong is also more than 3,000 years old.
It’s also the oldest ever bongo in the United States, Sakamoto said.
The bong comes from the tree’s “tremendous growth,” said Yoshio Sasaki, the plant and tree identification specialist at the museum.
It’s possible the tree was brought to Japan by people who came across it in Korea, he said.
Japanese scientists are trying to determine the species, which grows up to 8 meters (25 feet) tall, or whether it is a subspecies of the bamboo bongo called Bongos yori.
The bongs’ shape and size make them easy to spot from the road.
A new version of the bong was discovered this year in another nearby area.
The tree is now being grown for research, Sakayama said.
“We have been able to grow this bong,” he said, adding that it could take several years for the tree to reach its full size.
Scientists in Japan and China have been working to study and identify the oldest living bongs since the 1950s, but only a few have been found in North America, the Smithsonian Institution said in a report last year.
The discovery of the oldest bamboo bong has led scientists to rethink how bamboo is cultivated and how to conserve it.
The trees are planted in the forest and can live up to 70 years, said Yasuhisa Fukuda, a Japanese botanist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
“The bamboo tree has been in the spotlight for many years now,” Fukuda said.
“But there are a lot of people who have not realized that this is the longest bamboo bonsa ever.”