I-cho ( in Japanese meaning trees like duck’s feet)
The Ginko is classified as a Gymnosperm and is speculated to have evolved from seed fern of the Peltaspermales. It is also a Conifer and Deciduous except that it doesn’t produce “cones” but rather the fruit grows in bundles like cherries. Gymnosperm in latin means “naked seeds” known as ovules.
Gymnosperms do not rely on pollinators for reproduction but rather, they rely on the wind pollination from the male to pollinate the female ovules.
“Sperm are stored in pollen tubes that are produced on tiny pollen “cones” that develop on male ginkgo trees. Eggs are found within seeds that resemble pale colored cherries in appearance at maturity on female ginkgo trees. In order for a ginkgo tree to produce a fertilized seed, the sperm from the male pollen must fertilize the ovules (eggs) of the female plant. Many ginkgo ovules are sterile and will rot without ever being fertilized.” – Ehow.com
The Ginko Biloba evolved from the Ginko adiantoides which looks nearly the same as the Biloba and is the oldest tree in existence. Some call it a “living fossil”.
They get the nickname Grandfather or grandchild tree because they take a few generations to mature but start off quickly reaching high up closer to the sky and can reach 130 ft. high!
Most people already know that Ginko has been used in China and Japan for centuries now to cure headaches and help with focus. Some say it aids in Alzheimers but I don’t know if that is an accepted fact. It’s sold in just about every market where other drugs are sold like the grocery store.
The name Maidenhair comes from the shape of their leaves which resemble the maidenhair fern.
Pic is my own
Maidenhair Fern ( Pacific Maid)
Other interesting facts about the Ginko tree is that they can withstand nuclear disaster. I read that about a mile away from Hiroshima, the ginkgo survived and are still thriving to this day. That’s pretty amazing! Ginko are planted near temples for protection and some say that it is possible that the Ginko is fire retardant or resistant due to it’s moisture content so planting them around homes is used for protection.
The fruit from the Ginko is stinky. I have not smelled them myself but I do…actually my neighbor has a Ginko in their yard which is right next to my fence. When the fruits rot they say it smells like vomit. ew!
This is my neighbors tree. It’s still early Spring here so it has not yet gotten its new leaves. It’s only at most 40 years old so it’s still a young tree.
Sit under or meditate on near the Ginko. It is so old that the wisdom is great so being grounded next to a Ginko is said to share its’ wisdom with those who ask or seek solace with the tree.
It’s associated with Masculine Energy: Spirit and Sun.
Their primary source of reproduction these days however is cultivation and can survive up to 2500 years and withstand just about anything.
Trees and Shrubs of North America
The Magic of Trees
The Big Bad Book of Botany