Thursday, November 8, 2007
Many people revere the amazing Ginkgo tree, Ginkgo biloba. It comes to my attention this time of year as it turns bright gold and then seemingly all at once drops its yellow leaves in a carpet of color. The Ginkgo deserves the reverence it receives. Its leaves appear in the fossil record 270 million years ago yet it is thought by some to be currently extinct in the wild. A European discovered that the trees were still being maintained by Japanese monks in their gardens in 1690 and it was then found that this practice is common in temple gardens of Japan, China, and Korea.
An amazingly resilient tree, some trees are believed to be over 1500 years old. It has few disease or insect problems and survives well in urban conditions. The most amazing story I have come across is that four Ginkgos growing in the area between 1000 and 2000 meters of the epicenter of the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast still survive!