(Gingko biloba)

Interesting Information About Plant:  

     When it comes to the Ginkgo biloba, it has a pretty interesting history. The Ginkgo tree is the oldest living tree in the world and the only surviving member of the Ginkgo family.  Because of this the tree is referred to as a ‘living fossil’. It supposedly has been around since the time of the dinosaurs, and one tree in China is about 3,500 years old.  The tree species is native to Southeast Asia, but was brought over to the US in 1784.  Some meanings behind the word Ginkgo, “silver apricot”, and biloba, two-lobed”, which comes from a Japanese origin. The seed of the Ginkgo is used for food, especially soup, the wood is used for religious furniture, and the leaves and nuts are used for medicine.  The Chinese and Japanese use Ginkgo in their Buddhist practices and have planted it around shrines and temples.  Asian cultures also use Ginkgo frequently in their gardens and often plant it after an important life event.

     Over the years Ginkgo has been used for many things in the medical area.  It has been used as an herb to help with memory improvement and increase the blood flow rate in capillaries and arteries.  It has even been proven to fix some forms of erectile dysfunction.  It is used to treat or help with so many different problems it would take a couple of pages to explain all them. The leaves of the tree can be toxic if large doses are eaten.  The fruits are generally grown on the female trees and animals don’t tend to eat them like some fruit trees.  They can cause skin disorders, mucous membrane irritations, and can cause intracranial hemorrhages.  The Ginkgo likes to thrive in soil pH around 3.7-7.0.  It has a dichotomous venation and tends to be seen in cities lining the streets.  


Scientific Name:    Ginkgo biloba

Family Name (Scientific and Common):   Ginkgoacea

Continent of Origin:      Southeast Asia                      

Plant Growth Habit:        Tree

Height at Maturity:   More than 10 Feet

Life Span:    Perennial

Seasonal Habit:    Deciduous Perennial

Growth Habitat:    Partial Sun  

Manner of Culture:     Landscape Shrub-Vine-Tree  

Thorns on Younger Stem:       No

Cross Section of Younger Stem:      Roundish   

Stem (or Trunk) Diameter:     More Than The Diameter of a Coffee-Mug 

Produces Brownish Bark:   Yes  

Bark Peeling in Many Areas:    No

Characteristics of Mature (Brownish) Bark:    Bumpy

Type of Leaf:   Thick, Fleshy Leaf……

Length of Leaf (or Leaflet):   Between the Length of a Credit Card and a Writing-Pen

Leaf Complexity:   Palmately Compound……

Edge of Leaf:      Smooth 

Leaf Arrangement:     Alternate 

Leaf has Petiole:    Yes 

Patterns of Main-Veins on Leaf (or Leaflet): Parallel 

Leaf Hairiness:      No Hairs

Color of Foliage in Summer:  Green   

Change in Color of Foliage in October:  Changes to Yellow   

Flowering Season:       Spring 

Flowers:    Single 

Type of Flower:   Like a Pine Cone……..  

Color of Flower:   Green  

Shape of Individual Flower:     Other

Size of Individual Flower:    Between a Quarter and the Length of a Credit Card  

Sexuality:     Male and Female Flowers on Separate Plants   

Size of Fruit:    Between a Quarter and the Length of a Credit Card 

Fruit Fleshiness:    Fleshy  

Shape of Fruit:    Spherical    

Color of Fruit at Maturity:      Yellow-Orange   

Fruit Desirable to Birds or Squirrels:      No   

Common Name(s):    Maidenhair Tree, Tempelbaum

Louisville Plants That Are Most Easily Confused With This One:      None Found

Unique Morphological Features of Plant:  Fleshy Fan Shaped leaves…..

Poisonous:    Part of Plant   

Pestiness (weedy, hard to control):    No

Page prepared by:   

Ryan Triplett  & Amber Overstreet                November 2004





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