The ginkgo is a living fossil that's remained unchanged for more than 200 million years. They've existed since the time of the dinosaurs, though they disappeared almost entirely except for a pocket of trees in the mountains of eastern China. Ginkgos were reintroduced to Europe in the 18th century, and then later to North America. Many people recognize the distinctive odor of the female tree's seeds, which begins in fall and persists into the winter (depending on the weather). The ginkgo's unique fan-shaped leaves make it one of the easiest trees to identify in Central Park.
Leaves2-3 inches long, alternate arrangement, triangular, golden yellow in fall
FruitDioecious (distinct male and female colonies), naked seed on female tree only, foul smell
FlowerNot considered ornamental
BarkGray to brown, ridged