The ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) is considered a living fossil and possibly the oldest living seed plant. It has remained unchanged for over 250 million years. Initially thought to be extinct, the tree survived in China where it was cultivated by Buddhist monks and spread by seed to Japan and Korea. Engelbert Kaempfer, a German naturalist and physician, brought Gingko seeds to Europe in the early 1700s. It is viewed in the East as a symbol of peace, hope, longevity and resilience.
In the category of deciduous conifer trees, the deep-rooted ginkgo can grow over 100 feet tall. Some have been known to live as long as 3000 years. Young ginkgo trees are tall and slender. As the ginkgo grows, it develops an angular crown with irregular branching.
The tree’s green leaves, which turn golden or bright yellow during the fall, are fan-shaped with two lobes and radiating veins. Most leaves are 2 to 4 inches in diameter, although some can grow up to 6 inches long. Ginkos are often called ...