Herbs forum: Ginkgo biloba - a living fossil

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Nov 8, 2015 4:44 PM CST
This tree has been traced back 180 million years, wow. When a tag says 'slow growing' - this one beats the band. I planted one in my front field 10 years ago and I am guessing it has only grown about 6" (if that) in that time. Ginkgo's primary medicinal use is to improve circulation, which can help with many things - diabetes, memory issues, hardening of the arteries, blood pressure. One of my herb books suggests eating roasted seeds to cure a hangover, but I've never seen a seed to roast, so can't comment on that. I did find a photo in the database with the seeds (thank you GardenGus). Ginkgo is very slow to break dormancy in the spring, to the point that every year I wonder if it didn't over-winter. But, equally slow to enter dormancy - here it is early November and the leaves are just now turning from green to butter yellow, while most of my other deciduous trees are bare. A very pretty tree, with fan-shaped leaves.


I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Nov 9, 2015 7:37 AM CST
I have a ginkgo tree in the middle of my stacked stone herb bed in the middle of the garden. It still has most of its leaves and we have had a few hard frosts / freezes down into the mid 20's here. It has been there about 15 years , I brought it home from an herb conference and it was about 6'' with 4 leaves. Guaranteed to be male.
The photo above is of the fruit and somewhere I have a few seeds I need to photograph.
The reason you do not see many trees with fruit is because they are outlawed in several places , and you are suppose to be able to sell only the male trees. The fruit of the ginkgo smells like strong puke when it is ripe.

I think this is an interesting tree, love the shape of the leaves, and because the branches are few and it grows slow can be used in the garden with out risk of shading out other plants.
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Delaware (Zone 7b)
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gardeningal
Nov 9, 2015 7:17 PM CST
I have always loved the Ginkgo biloba tree. I used to have one as well. Very pretty and very useful in many ways.
Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
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HoosierHarvester
Nov 12, 2015 8:20 AM CST
seeds cleaned out of the casing (or whatever that stinky stuff is called):



That's a dime in the photo; sorry about that, I didn't have a shiny silver one.

Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Nov 12, 2015 10:12 AM CST
Have you started any from seed?
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Delaware (Zone 7b)
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gardeningal
Nov 14, 2015 9:48 PM CST
That would be interesting. I've never researched, studied or heard from anyone starting a Ginkgo from seed.... do tell.
Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
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HoosierHarvester
Nov 15, 2015 11:17 AM CST
If question was to me, yes I do, "winter sown". I just sow them in a large container shortly after they have fallen to the ground, which would be the normal time in nature. I'm not sure they are completely zone 5 hardy, so the pot or tray get put in a slightly sheltered location that can still receive ample moisture. They usually germinate the following spring when the weather warms. I've never tried to start them in the house, but perhaps they need a cold treatment, I don't know.
Delaware (Zone 7b)
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gardeningal
Nov 16, 2015 9:44 AM CST
Thank you for your info. Sounds like a typical germination process.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Dec 1, 2015 1:07 AM CST
Germination is very erratic. While some will germinate without cold stratification, they do better when exposed to 30 days cold strat in the fridge.

And yes - cleaning the seed is a gaging experience the first time -- they are very rank.

Under optimal conditions they will grow about 6 - 12 " a year.

It is very hard unless one wants to spend a lot of money to determine the sex. Typically, it takes 15 - 20 years growth to determine the sex without testing.

I have been growing them from seed for 3 years and sell them at a local farmers market. Typical germination is 30 % or so.

People in the far East, particularly China, love to eat the fruit.

Leaf drop is interesting as a tree will typically drop all its leaves in a very short time - as little as 24 hours.

The leaves also do not break down very easily and are not a great additive to a compost heap.

Larger drug stores sell ginkgo pills that are good for memory - particularly the elserly.

Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
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HoosierHarvester
Dec 6, 2015 3:07 PM CST
As a note with respect to cleaning ginkgo seeds, I became alarmed by one cleaning session, and after that started to wear gloves. What happened was that I let the seeds dry out before removing that creamy-orange-tan (not sure how to describe the color) outer coating on the seeds (the part that stinks). That coating had become extremely dry, kind of hardened, very shriveled. I tried softening a bit with water soak, but then began just using my hands and fingers to rub off that coating. Whatever is in that part of the plant really did a number on my hands. Within a few days layers of skin from my palms began erupting and shedding off. They were also a bit sore, and it wasn't a pleasant experience. It took about two weeks or more to clear up. I'm thinking this only happened because of the friction I had to put into rubbing the coating off the seeds, but I didn't care for it to happen again, so as I said, now I wear gloves.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Dec 6, 2015 8:31 PM CST
Any seed that has a sizable layer of gelatinous arial (like Ginkgo), I never allow to dry a lot or completely. (In some cases, e.g. crabapple, I have found it near impossible to get the real seeds out when they are fully dried up.) As you found out, it is a royal pain to clean them when dry. I clean these right after they drop. And yes - you better have a good gag reflex.

I clean them by rubbing them over a large sieve I made ~ 2 ' x 4 ' out of 3/8 " hardware cloth mounted on 2 x 2 structure. Works fast and great. I also use this on may other types of seeds as well - most recently paw-paw. I have 3 of these sieves with different sized hardware cloth. I also use these to sift soil - works great to remove rocks.

I always wear very heavy kitchen gloves like Rubbermaid and keep them on the whole time.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Canning and food preservation Plays in the sandbox Lilies Hummingbirder
Irises Daylilies Cut Flowers Butterflies Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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HoosierHarvester
Dec 7, 2015 7:17 PM CST
Sometimes I have just forgotten about the seeds until they had layed on the ground with dry weather. It is natural for that coating to harden on them. I also try to harvest at drop time, but then I find it easy to clean them, just like pitting a cherry with my fingers. I just squeeze the seed out.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Dec 7, 2015 9:12 PM CST
Right. I just don't like dealing with the guck.

So you have grown these from seed then?
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Canning and food preservation Plays in the sandbox Lilies Hummingbirder
Irises Daylilies Cut Flowers Butterflies Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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HoosierHarvester
Dec 8, 2015 8:10 AM CST
Yes, but I take the lazy (oh I mean *easy*) approach. I just winter sow them. But I've never kept a seedling tree except one in a hyper tufa container - I sell them. I did a test this year and just sowed them with coating and all so it will be interesting to see if I still get germination in spring.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Dec 8, 2015 10:03 AM CST
Well you should. My neighbor (where I gather my seeds) has one ~ 40 years old. Last year I dug up ~ 10 or so that had sprouted.
My experience is that they can be really erratic and slow to germinate. And I have tried lots of experiments.

I too sell them at a farmers market.

What is a hyper tufa?
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
[Last edited by DavidLMO - Dec 8, 2015 10:05 AM (+)]
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Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Canning and food preservation Plays in the sandbox Lilies Hummingbirder
Irises Daylilies Cut Flowers Butterflies Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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HoosierHarvester
Dec 8, 2015 4:58 PM CST
Well, or hypertufa, all one word.
@DavidLMO
Maybe see a couple here: The thread ""Hardy" hypertufa?" in Containers forum
and The thread "My first attempt at hypertufa" in Containers forum and
The thread "Hypertufa planters/pot" in Containers forum .

That was just three threads I quickly picked up. They are all in the "Containers" forum, and then I did a search for hypertufa or hyper tufa and you can probably find several other threads.
Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Canning and food preservation Plays in the sandbox Lilies Hummingbirder
Irises Daylilies Cut Flowers Butterflies Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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HoosierHarvester
Dec 8, 2015 4:59 PM CST
My purpose for it being in the hypertufa container is growing as a bonsai.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Dec 8, 2015 8:56 PM CST
A Ginkgo? Hmm. You grow other Bonsai?
I hope you are sufficiently young. Big Grin
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Kayleigh
(Zone 5a)
Cat Lover Seed Starter Canning and food preservation Plays in the sandbox Lilies Hummingbirder
Irises Daylilies Cut Flowers Butterflies Region: Indiana Vegetable Grower
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HoosierHarvester
Dec 8, 2015 9:28 PM CST
Hilarious! Well, I don't know anything about bonsai except photos and that ginkgo is a good candidate. So, stuck seedling/sapling into hypertufa pot. That was this past spring 2015 - I'll see how it winters. Not sufficiently young; but it should make a nice small specimen. When I find just how winter hardy it is in hypertufa, then may sell it. planter and all.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Dec 8, 2015 9:51 PM CST
You keep this outside in Zone 5A? Sunk pot or above ground? Have you over wintered potted Ginkgos before?
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976

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