Ginkgo biloba Ginkgoaceae
Ginkgo, Maidenhair Tree GINK-go bi-LO-ba
- Broadleaf deciduous tree, 50+ ft (15+ m), usually pyramidal, excurrent (dominant main leader), but
variable. Leaves alternate, simple, fan-shaped, 3-7.5 cm long and wide, in clusters of 3-5 per
spur or alternate on long shoots. Dioecious - male and female trees; male flowers (sometimes
called pollen cones) are 2.5 cm long, catkin-like, with numerous stamens loosely arranged; female flowers
are long stalked, 4-5 cm, solitary, with two opposing ovules at the end of the stalk. "Fruit" on
female plants is actually not a true fruit but a naked seed (gymnosperm = gymno, naked, and
sperm, seed) with a fleshy covering, it is plum-shaped (ca. 2.5 cm diam.), green then tan or
orange, extremely messy and malodorous when ripe. (In their 1954 botany text, Fuller & Tippo
indicate that one botanist described the fruit smell in more vernacular terms, i.e., like "raw dog vomit".)
Sometimes fruit is set without pollination. It may be twenty or more years before a
seedling flowers and sets fruit. Seedless (male) cultivars are commercially available, see below.
- Sun. Transplants easily. Prefers sandy, deep, moderately moist soil but grows in almost any situation. A durable tree for difficult landscape situations, in addition some cultivars can be espaliered or used in bonsai.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 3 Native to eastern China, long cultivated.
- Available male selections include:
- Autumn Gold™ --- broad conical habit, 40 × 30 ft (12 × 9 m), golden-yellow fall color.
- Lakeview --- compact conical form , deep gold fall color.
- Magyar --- upright braching habit, 50 × 30 ft (15 × 9 m)
- Princeton Sentry® --- upright, somewhat columnar, slightly tapered from base to apex, 60 × 20 ft (18 × 6 m), yellow fall color
- Shangri-la® --- uniform compact crown, dense branching, 45 × 25 ft (14 × 7.5 m), bright yellow fall color.
- Fall color is often bright yellow to gold. Trees often drop a major proportion of their
fall foliage over a short period of time, sometimes during a single night. If there is little
or no wind, this may result in a carpet of yellow leaves under trees.
- Ginkgo: from the Chinese yin-kuo, silver apricot. biloba: two lobed, leaves sometimes incised or divided.
- Corvallis: northwest area of Central Park.
- Oregon State Univ. campus: east and south of Wiegand and west of Withycombe.