Our plant of the week has a history that goes back further than any other plant on this earth…I have read dates ranging from 150 to 270 million years… is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta (all other extinct, carries quite a history of how it got here, is known by many as a great street tree (has many other uses), really cool fan shaped leaves (sometimes extractions used medicinally), outrageous golden fall color, and in some cases (female plants) also known for its smelly fruits and the nuts inside used for medicinal purposes and considered a delicacy in some cultures. Oh, and did I mention it’s a deciduous conifer? You know what I’m talking about; this living fossil is Ginkgo biloba, also known as Maidenhair tree. (Ginkgo – gin kyo - for ‘silver fruit’ and biloba for the two lobed leaves.) And there is so much history behind this plant, that I urge you to ‘google’ it sometime and read more.
But here is a tree that is easily grown, tolerates a wide range of soils and most urban environments, slow to grow, sparse when young, but once it does grow and mature, is simply spectacular. The trees are male and female, so be sure to plant a male, unless you’re ready for that smelly fruit! And there are many new selections of Ginkgo available today, from true dwarfs (under 3-4 feet tall), to columnar, to rounded, to its natural shape, again growing 60-80’ plus. I once read where several tree experts were asked that if they had to speculate one tree still growing on this earth hundreds of years from now, which would it be? They all picked Gingko.