|YOUNG GINKGO TREE IN FALL COLOR|
|UNUSUAL SHAPE OF GINKO LEAF|
Sunday, 8:00 AM. 48 degrees F at the ferry dock, 43 on the back porch. Wind SW, calm with moderate gusts. The sky is cloudy and overcast but clearing after a trace of rain last night. The humidity is 88% and the barometer is rising, now at 29.68",
Ginkgo biloba is a deciduous tree, but is actually classified with the conifers, and is a gymnosperm. It has an unusual leaf, which looks like the foliage of the maidenhair fern, thus its common name, maidenhair tree. The leaf is structured like that of an angiosperm tree, rather than a needle, like a conifer would have. The female tree bears "fruit" which is technically a cone. It is a living fossil, found in abundance in Jurassic era geological strata. It has been called a link between the more primitive gymnosperms and the more advanced angiosperms. It is not found in the wild, but was a tree found growing in a Chinese Buddhist monastery garden in the Nineteenth Century. Its "fruit" is so vile smelling that only the male trees are propagated in the West, although the "fruit" is prized for food in the Orient. It is a very slow growing tree, but has few insect or disease problems and survives city conditions well. Almost everything about the Gingko is contradictory.
As the photo attests, the clear golden fall color is outstanding. The shape of the tree is rather regular and formal, and there are some nice selections that are very narrowly pyramidal, ideal for many city applications, or as a punctuation mark in a landscape.
Since the Ginkgo is so slow growing, and has become quite popular, it is very hard to obtain from nurseries, and quite pricey. But for fall color and as a conversation piece it can't be beat.