Ginkos

ginko leaves

We have a ginko tree—two of them, in fact. I’ve just been reading up on them, and it appears that they are completely unrelated to other types of trees. Fossils of leaves recognizably related to them have been found that date back 270 million years. In China they have been cultivated for a long time—temple trees exist that are believed to be over 1500 years old, and it’s thought that they may live past 2000 years.

Furthermore, they have separate sexes. I wonder if ours are male and female? I don’t recall seeing anything that looks like the cones or ovules described by Wikipedia, so maybe they aren’t old enough (females don’t produce fruit till they’re 20 or so years old). Or maybe I just don’t pay attention. I think there’s a chance that we do have a mating pair, so to speak, as the previous owners also planted a pair of kiwis, male and female. On the other hand, many intentionally planted ginkos are male clones, because people don’t like the smell of the fruit—it contains butyric acid and apparently smells like vomit. So maybe not.

Ours are pretty small still, considering that they grow up to a height of about 20-35m (66-115 feet). I wonder if they’ll still be here a century or two from now? If they can survive a nuclear bomb, I figure they’ve got a pretty good chance.

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