Ginkgo (ginkgo - 銀杏)

The ginkgo biloba tree is considered a living fossil as it's still as it was 270 million years ago. The ginkgo biloba is unique and has today no more close relative growing on earth.

The ginkgo biloba originates from China and has been cultivated for centuries. It was first described in Europe in the 17th century after being 'discovered' in Japan. It was thought that no wild ginkgo biloba existed anymore but it seems now that a few wild forests still remain in China.

Its reproduction method is quite unique. A male tree produces pollen that reaches the ovules produced by a female tree. These ovules produce then seeds looking like small yellow fruits.

The ginkgo has traditional medical uses and is meant to prevent ageing and loss of memory. The fruit (seed) is not edible and quickly smells rotten. But the stone hides inside a yellowish nut-like which is a Japanese delicacy.

The shape of the leaf looks like a fan and turns from green to a bright yellow in autumn. Japanese use this shape frequently on fabrics, or for decoration.


Ginkgo biloba leaves in Automn [source]
Gingko 'nuts'




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