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Ginkgo Tree
The ginkgo is a living fossil that has remained unchanged for more than 200 million years. Many people recognize the ginkgo by the distinctive odor of the seeds of the female tree beginning in fall and persisting into the winter, depending on the weather. Ginkgos have existed since the time of the dinosaurs, but disappeared almost entirely but for a pocket of trees in the mountains of eastern China. Ginkgos were reintroduced to Europe in the 18th century, and then to North America later. The ginkgo's unique fan-shaped leaves make them one of the easiest Central Park trees to identify.

Common Name: Ginkgo

Scientific Name: Ginkgo biloba

Origin: Eastern China

Family: Gingkoaceae

Size: 40 - 80' tall, 30 - 40' wide

Form: Conical form when young, spreading lateral branches with age

Culture: Prefers deep, sandy soils and moderate moisture; adaptable to pH and almost any other conditions; thrives in full sun; tolerant of pollution, salt air, and heat


2 - 3" long, alternate arrangement, triangular, golden yellow in fall


Not considered ornamental


Dioecious (distinct male and female colonies), naked seed on female tree only, foul smell


Gray to brown, ridged