Ginkgo trees are a living fossil, with leaf impressions dating back 270 million years! It’s also a readily available medicine throughout the world. Many species of tree claim to be resilient, but how many can say their species has survived an Atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima? Roughly 170 Ginkgo biloba survived the blast in 1945. Talk about a living legend! A true symbol of longevity, this tree will most likely outlive generations to come. A single Ginkgo tree can live for over 1,000 years.
In the fall, you may notice your Ginkgo’s leaves drop dramatically, all at once. Why is this? As colder weather comes, common deciduous trees like maples often lose their leaves over the course of a few weeks. The process of a tree losing its leaves it a little more complex than you may think, the stems of leaves on these trees are called petioles. Petioles produce a layer of protective cells to protect trees from diseases that could enter as the leaves drop. This process typically takes place over a period of several weeks as temperature decreases. On a Ginkgo tree, the petioles form this layer of scar-like cells simultaneously and once a hard frost comes it triggers all leaves to drop at once, creating a lovely golden carpet around the base of your tree. Often, a true sign that fall has arrived.
Ginkgo biloba was previously classified in the Pinophyta division (phylum), which encompasses all cone-bearing plants commonly referred to as Conifers. Ginkgo biloba is now classified in its own division, Ginkgophyta, but it is still a gymnosperm (meaning ‘naked seed’) and is closely related to other prehistoric plants like Evergreens and Cycads.