Ginkgo biloba - The Maidenhair Tree
Lee Squires, Secretary Treasurer, Superintendent, Cave Hill Cemetery
Introduced into the U.S. in 1784 from China, the Ginkgo is one of our most interesting trees and is the oldest living tree known to man. Ginkgo fossil remains date back 150 million years. It is nearly insect and disease resistant with the Omnivorous Looper being the only insect pest. Of course, omnivores will eat anything.
The Ginkgo has male and female flowers on separate trees (dioeciously) which contributes to its uniqueness. The Ginkgo is known for its foul smelling fruit, which appears in early October only on female trees. The seed pulp contains butyric acid, which occurs naturally in fermenting foods. The pulp emits a most rancid odor. The Asians eat the almond-like seed that is inside the pulp. They are called “silver nuts”. This gives the Ginkgo the distinction of being the oldest living nut tree.
Many people state that they wouldn’t plant a Ginkgo because of the fruit. The male tree is fruitless and there are many grafted male trees on the market from which to choose. The beautiful yellow fall color, the unusual, fan-shaped, leathery leaf, and its hardiness in Kentucky make it an excellent choice for the landscape. It should be planted in more yards throughout the country.
Cave Hill’s largest Ginkgo is growing in Section N and has a trunk circumference of nearly 18 feet with a massive branch spread. Unique in its own right, this 170-year-old tree was born a male and did not produce fruit. In the early 1970’s this tree grew a female branch in the top, which now produces prolific fruit. Trees with male and female flowers on the same tree (monoecious) are rare in the Ginkgo family. So, Cave Hill’s tree is one of the only monoecious Ginkgos in existence.
Ginkgos are not fussy as to soil conditions and even make good street trees. Their fruit has given them a bad reputation. These remarkable trees are hardy over much of the country, USDA Zones 3-9.
SHOW #8-708 Cave Hill Cemetary
All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.