Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Ginkgo biloba
The ginkgo is one of the largest and longest lived of all deciduous trees worldwide. It is suspected of being able to live as long as 4000 years however it has been long extinct in the wild. This trees survival has continued to the present day as a result of centuries long tradition of planting it around buddhist temples.
Fossils date back as long as 270 million years. Fossil evidence shows the ginkgo was also widespread in North America and Europe before getting wiped out there by the ice age, it is now commonly planted there as a lawn and street tree.
In the U.S. where it is now frequently planted it is often considered slow growing but that is because it is often planted in hard core urban sites where little else will grow. In ideal conditions it can become fast growing. Some records include: include: fastest growth rate - 5 feet; 10 years - 30 x 20 feet, 50 years - 82 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 3 ft; largest on record - 200 x 100 feet with a trunk diameter of 21 feet. Some huge trees already stand in: Gloucester, VA ( 85 x 100 x 5 feet ), Cincinnati, OH ( 85 x 100 x 8.5 feet ) and Philly ( 90 x 72 x 7 feet ). Very long-lived, trees as old as 1200 years are known. Seedlings can reach up to 1 foot tall during the first year.
The leaves are fan shaped to about 5 x 5 inches in size and are strongly vertically veined and notched at the tips. The foliage is bright green during spring turning to deep green in summer then to golden-yellow in autumn.
The bark is beige, ridged and fissured.
Hardy zones 3 to 9 it is reported to grow well from Montreal to as far south as Waco, Texas; truly one of the worlds most adaptable trees. There are reports of tolerances as low as -50 F. It is heat, drought, storms, clay, salt and pollution tolerant and not pestered by insects and diseases thus making this an excellent urban street tree. The ginkgo loves hot summers and only hates wet poorly drained soils growing best in deep rich well drained soil in full sun. Its branches are very tough and its dense canopy easily survives extreme winds. The Ginkgo is best pruned in March.
Among the worlds toughest trees; 4 Ginkgo trees not only were among the few living things to survive the Hiroshima atomic blast in 1945; they were only a mile away, survived and soon regained full health.
Propagation from seed is easy.

* photo taken on April 11 2010 in Washington, D.C.

* photo taken Feb 2009 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken Aug 2004 @ Tyler Arboretum near Philly

* photos from unknown internet sources

* photo of unknown internet source - I love how the shape of the tree contrasts off the stone wall: prehistoric tree / historic downtown - what a combo!

* not sure of source of this photo but it is definately China because no Ginkgo in the U.S., Canada or Europe have been planted that long ago


* photos taken on 4th of July 2010 in Washington, D.C.

* photo taken on August 4 2010 @ Stratford, Ontario

* photo taken on May 16 2011 in Washington, D.C.

* photos taken on July 31 2011 in Hyde Park, NY

* photos taken on Aug 25 2011 @ Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore, PA

* photos taken on Oct 31 2013 @ Hampton Ntl. Historic Site, Towson, MD

* photo taken on Aug 3 2012 @ University of Western Ontario, London, ON

* photos taken on July 11 2014 in Washington, DC

* photos taken on Aug 15 2014 @ Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD

* photo taken on Oct 21 2014 in Washington, DC

* photos taken on Nov 10 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

* photo taken by Milan Havlis, owner of central Europe's premier plant nursery

* historical archive photos

* excellent videos found on Youtube

Fast growing and pyramidal in habit. Seedless.

An upright columnar form, reaching about 50 x 15 feet in 30 years, eventually reaching a maximum size of 100 x 50 feet. It is an excellent option for narrow urban streets.

* historical archive photo

'Jade Butterfly'
Dwarf and domed, somewhat like Acer palmatum 'dissectum' in habit, it reaches a maximum size of only 6 x 3 feet in 10 years, eventually up to 10 x 10 feet.
The closely arranged leaves are deep green, turning glowing yellow during autumn.
It is a most interesting plant that is sure to draw peoples attention.

Vigorous with larger leaves with as large as 12 inches across being reported. Very rare.

A vigorous, strongly pyramidal form, reaching up to 60 x 25 feet.
The foliage is deep green, turning glowing yellow during autumn.
It is a male form tat does not bear fruit.

* photos taken on Feb 8 2015 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

Even more dwarf than 'Jade Butterfly'; reaching only 2 x 2 feet in 10 years, eventually reaching a maximum size of 6.5 x 8 ( rarely over 5 ) feet.

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

A Ginkgo of weeping rather than strongly upright habit. It required staking to develop height but only when young. Some records include: 10 years - 4 x 6 feet; 50 years - 33 x 36 feet.

* interesting link with great photos
* excellent video found on Youtube

'Princeton Sentry'
A narrow columnar form that is similar to 'Fastigiata'. It can reach up to 52 x 26 feet in 25 years or an eventual maximum size of 100 x 20 ( rarely over 70 ) feet. This is a male clone that does not produce seed.

* historic archive photo

'Spring Grove'
A slow growing form eventually forming a natural pyramidal miniature "bonsai" tree. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 1.5 feet ( rarely over 1/3 of that ); 5 years - 2 feet; 10 years - 4 feet; largest on record - 8 x 5 feet. The deep green leaves are of average size for the species making them large in comparison to the size of this dwarf giving it a unique tropical appearance.
The foliage turns glowing golden-yellow during autumn.

* photo taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on Feb 8 2015 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

1 comment:

  1. Oh, but the fruits have that ginko stink-o dog's vomit smell. I can't get over that fact, and properly embrace this tree.