U-M is the FIRST medical school in the country to receive a clone

October 27, 2014
Now medical researchers at the North Campus Research Complex (NCRC) have a clone of the ancient tree where Greek physician Hippocrates (c.460-377BC) and his students, the thought leaders of their time, learned from one another.
Hippocrates Tree and statue located on the U-M Medical campus

Legend states that Hippocrates taught medicine under the branches of a sycamore tree. To honor that legacy, Archangel Ancient Tree Archive and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have partnered to provide a direct descendant from the original tree, which has been planted on the grounds of the U-M North Campus Research Complex.

James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., Medical School Dean and Lyle C. Roll Professor of Medicine, was approached by friends of the Medical School, Ian Ashken, Director of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive and his wife Nancy Ashken, a U-M alumna, on behalf of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive project, about becoming one of the first Medical Schools in the country to have a direct descendant, a clone, of the sycamore tree under which Hippocrates is said to have taught.

The Hippocrates Tree planting ceremony at NCRC
Photo from left to right: Ian Ashken, Director of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, David Milarch, Co-Founder of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., Medical School Dean and Lyle C. Roll Professor of Medicine, and Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., Founding Director of the Center for the History of Medicine and George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor

A number of clones are being made available by the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive for planting, as living legacies, at universities, hospitals and other medical institutions in honor of Hippocrates’ vision and work.

This tree now joins a sister tree on our central Medical campus, planted from a cutting taken from the “Hippocratic Tree” on the Greek Isle of Cos, and brought to the USA by a former med school faculty member right after World War II ended. It was given to our Medical School at the dedication of the Medical Science II Building. Attempts to grow trees from its cuttings were never successful. The Medical Campus is also home to a bust of Hippocrates and nearby the bust are plaques with the Hippocratic Oath in Greek and English.

The Hippocrates Tree planting ceremony was held at NCRC on Friday, October 24th, 2014.

Archangel Ancient Tree Archive Hippocrates Brochure

Archangel Ancient Tree Archive Hippocrates Website