The Autumn Leaves of the Ginkgo

The fan shaped leaves of Ginkgo are flat and irregularly notched. They are often deeply grooved in the middle of the leaf, producing two distinct lobes, hence the name Ginkgo biloba (two lobes)

In Japanese decorative art, the ginkgo’s distinctive fan-shaped leaf has carried symbolism along with its singular beauty: the ginkgo has been a symbol of longevity (the tree can live for a thousand years) and of a more profound endurance (four ginkgos survived the blast at Hiroshima and are still growing today).

Native to China, the ginkgo tree is beautiful and unique, both aesthetically and biologically. Having lived for over 225 million years, the ginkgo is one of the oldest known species on the planet. Wild populations of ginkgo are rare, existing only in two known regions of the Zhejiang province in China.

The large numbers of fruit drop from the tree, not only making a mess, but the squashed fruit also unleashes a rather unpleasant odor. All agree the aroma is unpleasant but to what degree depends upon the person – some describing it as ripe camembert cheese or rancid butter, and others comparing it more to dog feces or vomit. Whatever the case, most people who plant ginkgo trees choose to plant male trees.

Sunday Stills: Leaves

7 thoughts on “The Autumn Leaves of the Ginkgo

  1. I LOVE ginkgoes, Dawn, and your information about them is fascinating! I miss seeing these gorgeous trees on our campus this fall, since it’s closed due to covid. Good thing I have plenty of photos from over the years. Thanks for sharing them on Sunday Stills this week!


  2. These are a favorite tree of mine and every year I tell myself I am going to plant one in our garden! Next year I will do it! I saw them growing in China and their ability to survive for those millions of years through ice age and all made a tremendous impression on me. Thanks for featuring them here!


  3. Pingback: Autumn light … – mazeepuran (माझे e-पुराण)

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