Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba)

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8a
Plant Height: 60 to over 100 feet
Plant Spread: 30 to 40 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Fruit: Other: a naked seed covered by a brown fleshy covering
Fruiting Time: Fall
Flowers: Other: not flowers, but male catkins and female ovules
Flower Color: Green
Flower Time: Late winter and early spring
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Shade Tree
Medicinal Herb
Edible Parts: Seeds or Nuts
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Pollution
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Pollinators: Wind
Miscellaneous: Dioecious
Conservation status: Endangered (EN)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Endangered
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Comments:
Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Oct 11, 2018 2:29 PM

This Maidenhair-tree is a living fossil that has fossils going back to about 270 million years, really unchanged. Botanists are still checking out fossils of what looks like several species of Ginkgo. About 144 million years ago was the greatest diversity of this genus. In the Tertiary Period of about 65 million years ago, one source says that there were four species left of Gingo biloba, G. adiantoides, G. gardneri in Scotland, and G. jiayinensis. Ginkgo disappeared from North America about 7 million years ago and from Europe about 2.5 million years ago. I think that Ginkgo biloba was found growing in places all over the Northern Hemisphere, but just survived in two valleys in China. Chinese monks were growing it about 1100 AD and spread it to Korea and Japan. A German botanist, Kaempfer, discovered it in southern Japan for western science and used a Japanese name for it, though he was a little off on the real word for "silver apricot." Ginkgo is commonly planted over a good part of the world with a number of different cultivars. In the Midwestern & Eastern US it tends to be used more in parks, campuses, business & industrial parks, and as a street tree in parkways and in sidewalk wells than in most people's yards. It grows about 1 foot/year or maybe a little more as a younger tree. In nature in China there are trees about 3,000 years old. It is easy to transplant and to establish. Ginkgo likes moist, well-drained soil that can be acid or neutral in reaction. It is grown and sold by many larger nurseries. In landscapes in eastern North America it usually grows about 6o feet high by 30 to 40 feet. I was looking at a wholesale nursery catalogue of a large nursery in Hinsdale, IL and Ginkgo is the most expensive shade tree to buy, more than a Crimson King Norway Maple or a Bur Oak. It is dioecious with separate male and female plants. The female plant bears the naked seed covered by a fleshy covering so it looks like a brown plum, and it stinks like vomit when the fallen fruit begins to rot. East Asian people like to eat some seeds as a delicacy. For landscape situations, nurseries grow male plants and male cultivars so that there won't be stinky, rotting fruit in November-December. It takes 20 to 50 years for a tree to produce seed or pollen, so sometimes nurseries have gotten it wrong and I've sometimes seen rotting fruit on sidewalks, pavement, parkways, and lawn, though, they are getting better at separation.

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Posted by Bonehead (Pacific NW - Zone 8b) on Oct 12, 2013 1:58 PM

Increases blood circulation to the brain. Very slow to break dormancy in spring. Very slow growing. I've never heard anyone ever refer to this as a 'maidenhair tree' - could be a regional thing I suppose. It's always just been a gingko.

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Posted by gardengus (Indiana Zone 5b) on Nov 9, 2015 9:51 AM

This tree holds its leaves long into the fall and are a beautiful clear yellow.
Ginkgo trees are slow growers and can be male or female.
The ripe fruit of the female tree smells very bad, like vomit.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What tree is this? by boilerSD Sep 6, 2018 11:29 AM 2
Which seeds need to be frozen? by sentinel Jul 29, 2018 2:29 PM 2
Ginkgo biloba by janinilulu Aug 9, 2018 11:59 PM 3
What plant is this? by danybrugn May 24, 2018 9:14 AM 5
Mystery plants to be identified by aniko2001 Feb 28, 2018 9:46 AM 7
What plant is this? by pinkerbellis Feb 27, 2017 7:23 AM 12
Ginkgo biloba - a living fossil by Bonehead May 23, 2016 8:04 PM 33
What did you do in the Iris garden today? by Paul2032 Oct 16, 2018 5:44 PM 14,749
what are you eating from your garden this spring? by texaskitty111 Apr 19, 2014 6:10 AM 15
Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Feb 8, 2013 9:39 PM 130

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