Ginkgo : Overview

Ginkgo Leaves in Autumn

"Ginkgo Biloba Leaves Fallen." Ramsy, D. (2007).

The Ginkgo biloba tree, also known as the maidenhair tree, is truly a captivating species. It not only stands strong in the plant world as a model of adaptive behavior in a harsh world, but also represents a romantic symbol of peace, love and good health.  Although at one point there may have been over 5 species in the ginkgoaceae family, Ginkgo biloba is the only existing species. This tree showed up in historical records 260 million years ago, making it the second oldest surviving seed plant and truly a “living fossil”. Additionally, the gingko tree can live to be over four thousand years old.  Looking at this tree’s lengthy heritage and longevity, one might ask the question- how and why has this species survived from the ancient, Jurassic age while all of its other relatives have died out? And, how do these trees grow to become thousands of years old?   It seems clear that Ginkgo biloba’s unique biological capabilities have aided its adaptation through the ages. What is especially intriguing, however, are the unique uses and symbols associated with the ginkgo that have been entangled in the threads of time and culture.  It is this symbolic and useful nature of the ginkgo that has given societies a reason to protect and be in awe of this natural wonder, further aiding its prolonged existence.