04
Mar
2010
Ginkgo biloba - maidenhair tree
Trees and shrubs | Ginkgoopsida
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Scientific Name – Ginkgo biloba L.

The first description of the genus and species of Ginkgo biloba L. was given by Linnaeus (1771).

Synonyms – Salisburia adiantifolia Smith, Pterophyllus salisburiensia Nelson.

Common name(s) – arboreal pagoda, maidenhair tree, ya-chiao, maiden hair, ginkgo, arbre aux quarante ecus, entenfussbaum, ginkgobaum, Goethe-baum.nogueira do Japao, arbol de los 40 escudos.

Distribution and Habitat – is native to China.                

Description – deciduous tree, 40 m; bark grey, deeply furrowed on old trunks. Buds brown, globose, scales imbricate. Leaves green.  Fruit globular, orange-yellow drupe. Seeds obovoid  to ellipsoid, yellow to orange, 2.3 – 2.7 x 1.9 -2.3 cm, rugose. 2n = 24

Trees flower after 20-35 years.

Growth rate – slow.

Tolerances – tolerant of air pollution.

Requirements – prefers deep, well-drained but not dry acid or alkaline soil.

Management – pruning is best done in spring.

Propagation – by seeds.

Ginkgo seeds are dormant when they fall from the tree because the embryo is not fully developed. If seeds are collected after dispersal, cleaned, and placed in a warm greenhouse, the embryo will grow to its full size and germinate within  8 to 10  weeks.

Pest and Diseases – Etiella zinckenella infest gingko fruits.The Fussarium sp., Macrophomina phaseoli, Agrotis ipsilon and Gulcula  panterinaria are the main cause of mortality in young seedlings.

Pseudomonas syringae cause of leaf spot and stem cankers.

Garden Partners

Cultivars – ‘Albovariegata’ tree with a broad silhouette, slow growth.

‘Fairmont’ erected and narrowed silhouette, fast growth.

‘Horizontalis’ – very broad silhouette and big leaves, principal branches are in a horizontal position.

‘Tremonia’ – slender form, branches are in a horizontal position and are short.

Properties and Uses – Ginkgo is cultivated throughout the temperate zones of the world for ornamental purpose.

G. biloba roots are colonized by the fungus Glomus epigaeum, forming mycorrhiza.

In Traditional Chinese medicine the seeds are used as an astringent, to stop asthma and regulate urinary frequency.

The leaves of Ginkgo, are first mentioned in Pharmaceutical Natural History of Southern Yunnan, published in 1436 during the Ming dynasty, are used externally to treat skin and head sores.

Curiosity – until 350 years ago interest was restricted to China, its natural habitat, Japan and Korea. There female trees were cultivated on a large scale furnish the nuts which remain a popular delicacy in Eastern Asia until today. Most of the 100 species over 1000 years old that still exist in China are found near Buddhist or Daoist temples.

The Ginkgo was first imported to the United States in 1784 as an attractive ornamental plant.

The Ginkgoales appeared in the Permian era and were at maximum range in the Jurassic.

Bibliography

Frederic RosengartenJr – Book of edible Nuts – Dover Publications Inc, 204

Hyla Cass – User’s Guide to Ginkgo Biloba – Basic Health Publication, 2002

Phyllis Balch – Prescription for Herbal Healing – Avery Health Guides, 2003

Teris A van Beek -  Ginkgo Biloba – CRC Press, 2000

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