The Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
The Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
by J. Zimmerman, Ph.D.
Discover the ginkgo, the tree whose kernels are said to provide relief from
tinnitus, dementia, stroke, dizziness, etc.
Remarkable Trees of the World
through our link to Amazon (whose fees support our site so
you will help us keep bringing you information).
This new great book by Thomas Pakenham
is a treasury in words and photographs of 60 trees of unusually strong
personality. Pakenham visited and photographed them around the world,
in North America, remote regions of Mexico, Europe, Japan and other parts of Asia,
Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Trees: Trees that Live for a Thousand Years by Anna Lewington and
Forest and Tree Home,
The Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba): Description.
- Fan-shaped and (usually) have a cleft between two lobes. The shape is
often compared with that of the maidenhair fern.
- Startlingly delicate and soft.
- 2"-3.5" wide.
- Apple-green in spring. In autumn they turn bright yellow, then fall.
- Shape and Trunk:
- Tree has a conical shape.
- Trunk is straight, tall, grey.
- On older trees, the trunk is fissured.
- Each tree is either male or female.
- A male tree has yellowish catkins, which produce pollen.
- Female has no pollen tube, so pollen is air-born to the
female. The female flowers are in groups of two or three, each with two ovules.
- Plum-like yellowish-pink fruits (each about an inch in diameter) hang in pairs.
- Fruit has a mildly toxic coating (which can bother the skin of children
playing beneath the fruiting trees).
- Flesh of the fruit is thin and pulpy.
- White seed inside the flesh is cracked open for its kernel.
- Fruit are said to smell unpleasantly, such as of rancid butter,
though the tast is said to resemble almonds.
- Belongs to its own order (Ginkgoopsida), instead of the two main
categories of trees (conifer and broadleaf).
- Survived for 200 MILLION years without modification. [Humans, for
comparison, appeared in Asia half-a-million years ago.]
- Fossil records find it wide spread, through China, Europe, North America.
- The tallest ginkgo alive is over 200 feet tall, in the grounds of the Yon
Mun temple, South Korea, and said to be over 1,100 years old.
- Cultivated worldwide as an ornamental.
- Revered by Buddhists.
- Globally classified as "endangered" (see World List of Threatened Trees).
- May be extinct in the wild. A few wild ginkgoes may exist in mountains in
China (Zhejiang and Anhui provinces).
- Has many similarities with ferns as well as trees, and believed to be one
of the first trees to evolve.
- Its name derives from the Japanese pronunciation of the characters for
- Ginkgo extracts are said to provide relief from tinnitus, dementia,
stroke, dizziness, etc. This is believed due to components that increase
arterial blood supply, especially to the brain.