GINGKO

461 Avon Rd.

Gingko (Ginkgo biloba)

Hailed as one of the most distinct and beautiful of all deciduous trees, the ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is a living fossil related to conifers and the only remaining species of its 280-million-year-old family.  this tree’s unique fan-shaped leaf makes it perhaps the most widely recognized of all shade and ornamental trees. Ginkgos are large trees, normally reaching a height of 66-115 feet, with some specimens in China being over 160 feet. Unique fan-shaped leaves turn a stunning yellow color in the fall. The gingko can tolerate many urban conditions including heat, air pollution, salt, and confined spaces. The seeds and leaves have been, and are still today, used in medicine throughout the world. 

Native to China, the ginkgo is widely cultivated, and was cultivated early in human history. It was introduced to America in the late 1700s. Virtually extinct in the wild, it had been preserved as a sacred tree by Buddhists and was found in a Chinese monastery in 1854.

Ginkgos are dioecious, meaning they have separate sexes, some trees being female and others being male. Monoecious trees have male and female flowers on the same tree. Instead, the female ginkgo produces ovules that, after pollination, develop into seeds. The seeds are about a half to three-fourths inches long, with a fleshy outer layer that is light yellow-brown, soft and fruit-like. It is attractive in appearance, but contains butyric acid and smells like rancid butter or vomit when fallen.

Ginkgos can live as long as 3,000 years. An extreme example of their tenacity may be seen in Hiroshima, Japan, where six ginkgo trees between 0.62 and 1.24 miles from the 1945 atomic bomb explosion were among the few living things in the area to survive the blast. These six trees and still alive today and marked with signs.            

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