23 responses to “Ginkgo biloba”

  1. Keith

    Hello Daniel and Alexis: Thank you for your continuing work on BPotD. It is an ongoing source of joy.
    I have been living in Hangzhou, Zhejiang (杭州,浙江) for the last 2 years, and finally got to visit Tian Mu Shan (天目山) this fall.
    I did in fact see ancient Gingko biloba trees, including the largest that I have ever seen. My guide stessed local pride regarding the fact of the discovery of Gingko biloba there.
    I also saw large Cryptomeria. The Cryptomeria are not as ancient as those found in Yakushima, Japan, but are still quite large. I read on Wikipedia that there is no evidence that the Cryptomeria is native to China.
    Please keep up the fine work!

  2. Albertine Ellis-Adam

    This is a very nice and interesting series. Therefore a small contribution to perfection: Ginkgo does not produce fruits but seeds.

  3. Bonnie

    We had a very large ginkgo tree in our back yard when I was a kid. Its leaves turned bright yellow in the fall. My mother was washing dishes one day at the sink in front of the kitchen window, and saw the leaves begin to fall. She said they all fell within a few hours, and she watched almost the whole time, it was so amazing. When I got home from school I saw them in a big yellow leafy ring around the now bare tree.

  4. Annie Gladden

    Thank you for this wonderful series on ancient plants.

  5. Toinette Lippe

    It is true that the female trees produce seeds, not fruits, but the seeds are covered in thick, dreadful-smelling flesh and the Chinese harvest these as soon as they are mature,often by throwing stones up into the tree. I live in New York City and two streets adjoining my apartment building are lined with gingkos. At this time of year I need to watch where I’m treading when I pass underneath these trees or I put my foot into smashed gingko seeds and track this smell into my home.

  6. Tom @ Tall Clover Farm

    If you ever seek art in nature, look no further than the simple beauty of the gingko leaf…or the American Chestnut, or the Oak, or Lindera Obtusiloba…or
    Magic all!

  7. Melissa in South Carolina

    Thanks so much for the prehistoric/extinct plants series this week! Now Gingko – we Southerners LOVE. I even have a couple of leaves at my desk at work right now to enjoy the shape and the memories. I knew generally that it Was Majorly Ancient, Asian origin, that there were male and female trees, and never plant a female tree near the house – they stink to high heaven. But the great thing about being in eastern S.C., an area where we love to plant gingkos, is that it’s one of the FEW trees that give us Fall Color. Those Pure Yellows can’t be beat. No wondrous aspens or a trip to the northeast for fall color, but as long as we have dogwoods and maples going red and gingkos going yellow, we’ll make it.

  8. Susan

    I love this series. More! More! and thank you, Alexis. Ginkgo State Park in north central Washington is a neat place to visit to see remnants of a Miocene forest, including petrified ginkgo, preserved by lahars and basalt flows. The petrified wood was later exposed by unimaginably huge Pleistocene flood events resulting from a breached ice dam near the mouth of the Clark Fork River east of Sandpoint, Idaho. The ice dam had created and filled Glacial Lake Missoula, and had formed and burst possibly up to a hundred times.

  9. Kate

    Fabulous photograph. Thank you.
    The city of St. Paul, MN has planted lots of ginkoes downtown and they seem to thrive. I love picking up the leaves and appreciating their simple elegance and now in October,their chartreuse color.

  10. Peony Fan

    Wonderful photograph of a marvelous tree. Thank you. Last fall I harvested seeds from a supposedly male cultivar (no other ginkgo nearby); the germination rate was high and now have a small “grove” in a pot.

  11. Mats Ellting

    Wow, my photo is on Botany photo of the day.
    I have been reading this blog for years and glad to have been chosen.
    Keep up the good work
    Mats Ellting (mellting)

  12. Barbara Lamb

    On a pilgrimage to Buddhist sites in China I was fortunate to see an enormous ginkgo at Shaolin temple. It was reported to be 1500 years old, which means it may have been there at the time of Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen.

  13. Heidi

    I’ve been captivated by ginkgoes for years, and the trees usually catch my eye if I pass one.
    Question: Although there is one extant species known in this genus, are there different cultivars? I sometimes find trees with beautifully formed, symmetrical leaves like the one pictured above, and sometimes find the leaves have no lobe or are asymmetrical. Is there a reason for this?

  14. phillip

    ..myself..being raised in Johnstown PA..late 50’s…all homes were heated by coal..steam heat…because of the abundance of available coal deposits..strip mining etc..cinders were used to give traction on snow in the winter..
    ..there are so many fossils found in coal..full ferns..leaves..only to be consumed for energy still to this day..

  15. Donald DeLano

    There are indeed many cultivars available on the market. Some have very interesting leaves, others have various growth pattern, such as weeping, columner, bushy and still others vary in the intensity of the fall color – even one having a slight reddish tint. All are beautiful. Just a another note with the upcomming new year approaching – they are a favorite for designers of the Rose Parade Floats in Pasadena, California. I have spent many a day and night (many cold in a tent in the rain) ironing ginko leaves with a steam iron to flatten them, then gluing them onto a float to depict fish scales, clothing items, intricate pottery designs and more. Just love this forum.

  16. Steve

    It seems superflous to add further praise on your fossil plant series, but this is long overdue. Looking at the popular media, you would think a deal had been struck with the creationists that evolution only applied to animals. Yet while these zoological drama queens were having their mass extinctions & my jaws are bigger than yours competitions, plants were quietly getting on with running & shaping the planet.
    My favourite has to be the Cooksonia model.

  17. elizabeth a airhart

    i too have memories of this fine tree in the fall in nj
    rideing in the car under arches lacey golden leaves
    from what i read on the net may also be grown as a bonsi
    thank you for all the comments today great reading
    thank you daniel and company

  18. Barb

    What a coincidence! I was today looking at the lovely potted gingko tree that I bought earlier this summer (has been a beautiful sight on the deck, planted around with velvety purple petunias, and still is….sans petunias)….and pondering where to plant it for its permanent home…..definitely in our yard somewhere….possibly as a screen from our neighbors’ new very-large house. Its colour will make the yard glow, and will complement nicely the pecan trees (from nuts from southern Ontario about 20-25 years ago) as the leaves turn golden yellow in a few more weeks.
    Have enjoyed the history and reminicences.

  19. Pat

    “Do not eat Ginkgo biloba fruit or seed.” Really?
    I would like to suggest that the linked article from the University of Maryland Medical Center was a little biased against the huge use of the seed in food and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Yes, it can cause poisoning but that doesn’t stop many millions of people eating them regularly. A little pyridoxine counteracts the poisoning. Fresh Ginkgo nuts are delicious, I love them.
    They completely missed the toxicity of the unprepared leaf which contains similar compounds to poison ivy. If you really need to take this potent medicine then only take the professionally, pharmaceutically-prepared extracts which should have had the urushiols removed. Do not make tea from the leaves, please.
    Heidi, there are at least 44 cultivars in China, grown for commercial production of seed.

  20. James Singer

    Alway admired the gingko, but never liked it very much. Does that make sense? It’s not the smell; it’s… I suppose… that it’s nearly impossible to incorporated into a garden or landscape. Kind of a very old, but very awkward child.

  21. Calypso Bay

    Thanks for posting the picture of Ginkgo and I just realized that I saw that plant somewhere in my mothers place.

  22. Gloria

    I know you say not to make tea from the leaves? Have a friend that is sick and need memory enhancer was going to tell her to pick some leaves from the tree and make tea.Not a good idea? and if yes how many leaves for a cup of tea?
    Thank you IL appreciate your help.

  23. Gloria

    I forgot to ask you how do you eat the nuts inside the seed? I hear that you boil them. With the shell? for how long you boil them?
    Sorry to ask so many questions Thank you

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