Ginkgo biloba – Maidenhair Tree

Ginkgo biloba on the list of my favorite trees (okay, being a tree hugger, the list *is* long, but I do have a couple of trees I don’t care for). In Woodlawn Cemetery in Canandaigua, NY there is a peaceful road lined with Ginkgo biloba trees, and in the fall the Ginkgo trees are really pretty with their golden yellow leaves:


Its bark reminds me of reptilian skin:


Did you know that Ginkgo is the only species surviving in the order Ginkgoales? Plants in the order Ginkgoales were around 150-250 million years ago! Which makes Ginkgo one of the oldest living tree species. People thought it was extinct until it was found in China in 1689.

Ginkgo trees make good street trees since it is pollution resistant, it gives nice shade, it grows straight, and as I mentioned above, the fall foliage color is really pretty.One of my tree books describes the leaves looking like duck’s feet. For more photos of Ginkgo, click here.

The only problem I’ve found with Ginkgo is if you are growing a female tree, you won’t know it until you see and smell their very stinky rotting fruit! It smells just like a sewer to me. I was walking around PSU’s college campus with one of my professors and all of a sudden something really stinky hit my nose and underneath my feet were the orange fruits from the female ginkgo tree. Even so, I think this tree is well worth having around! What do you think? Do you like Ginkgo trees?


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan Gets Native
    Jan 21, 2007 @ 15:17:34

    You know me, all native all the time. But I can appreciate the beauty and history of the tree.
    I had been warned about the females (before I was NATIVE) and decided against it.
    Isn’t that the stuff you can take to improve memory? I can’t remember.


  2. Pam
    Jan 21, 2007 @ 19:46:41

    Susan – LOL!! Yup, I’m all about native too. This one may have been native once upon a time. I could get off my butt and look in other books to see what they have to say, maybe I will later. I just got comfy!


  3. Mary
    Jan 21, 2007 @ 20:02:44

    I don’t think I’ve seen this tree. Maybe if I smelled one, I’d remember. I don’t care for foul smelling stuff, so I don’t think I’d like this tree. Marigolds make me gag.


  4. Pam
    Jan 21, 2007 @ 20:36:34

    Mary – you’d like the males with no stinky fruits. I certainly don’t like the females after what I experienced. And I love the smell of marigolds, so those female ginkgo rotting fruit would really make you gag!


  5. Laura
    Jan 21, 2007 @ 22:50:06

    I’ve only ever seen them planted as specimens in arboretums and used for bonsai. I like the leaf shape – one I can recognize easily!


  6. Pam
    Jan 22, 2007 @ 09:11:57

    Laura – You’ve reminded me to look at the bonsai photos I took at Longwood. I’ll do a post of them for you – one of them is a Ginkgo biloba tree!


  7. mon@rch
    Jan 22, 2007 @ 09:16:47

    Very cool tree! Speaking of Longwood, one of these days I need to pull out my Longwood pictures!


  8. Pam
    Jan 22, 2007 @ 09:32:09

    Mon@rch – I think it is cool too! Longwood photos would be nice! Along with photos of you when you were growing up! 😉


  9. caroline in SD
    Jan 22, 2007 @ 13:25:13

    My folks in Plattsburgh (Lake Champlain) have a large gingko in their front yard. We kids loved to watch the leaves let go in the fall after the first freeze. They all fall at once, instant leaf pile to jump in, or easy raking for a kid. My dad still sends us leaves in the fall so my South Dakota kids can experience real “fall color”, he has been doing it for 30+ years.
    Caroline in South Dakota


  10. Pam
    Jan 22, 2007 @ 21:24:20

    Hi Caroline! That’s a great ginkgo story. I didn’t realize ginkgo leaves fall all at once – that’s really interesting. I think it’s really nice your Dad sends you the leaves every fall. How wonderful for your kids and you!!


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