Ginkgo biloba - Ginkgo, also called Maidenhair Tree
Family - Ginkgoaceae
Size - 50 to 80+ feet in height with a spread that can be variable. Some trees are very wide spreading while others are narrow. Can grow at a medium rate while young, slowing down with age. Pyramidal in shape when young. In maturity is generally wide spreading with tremendous sized limbs and trunk.
Flower/Fruit/Seed - Fruit (a naked seed) is produced on female trees. It can be very messy and very stinky (a good horticulture term). Trees are dioecious, however while being shown around Cave Hill Cemetery by Lee Squires, the grounds manager, he pointed out to me a large, old male Ginkgo which has one female branch in it's uppermost reaches which does produce seed.
Bark - Gray-brown, ridge and furrowed, with lighter brown tones exposed between the furrows.
Pests and Diseases - None
Landscape Use - Can be used in the average sized landscape but can become with large with age. It's one liability in landscape use is the fruit, therefore male clones should be selected for this purpose. Is somewhat gangly looking when young but develops character with age. A large Ginkgo is impressive, wide stout, short trunk with massive horizontally spreading limbs. Can be used as a street tree, particularly some of the cultivars. Upright, dwarf, narrow and conical, pendulous and variegated forms exist. 'Variegata' is a shrub form with variegated foliage, it is very attractive, some leaves being 'halved' green and gold, others striped, and others yet half gold and half striped.
Performance - 10 Has been a proven performer throughout the south. Adaptable, zones 3-9, no disease or insect problems, hardiness, and heat tolerance; what else could one expect from a tree that's been around for 150 million years? If something was going to catch up with it, it should have by now. Ginkgos are long lived trees, living as many as 1500 years or more. Always buy named cultivars from a reputable nursery as this trees only drawback is the fruit which is extremely malodorous and is not produced until the tree is 15 years of age or older. And, no matter what a nurseryman tells you, they can't look at a tree and tell you if it is male or female. The nut is a delicacy to many people and the different parts of the tree are used in many herbal remedies.
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