In the morning light, these little leaves, barely 4 mm across, show the pretty fan-shaped structure of the maidenhair tree I planted some years ago in my field. Simply beautiful.
Ginkgo biloba, the maidenhair tree, is a lonely species within its type (the division Ginkgophyta), was once widespread and plentiful around the globe, today only native to China.
I’m not a great fan of planting non-native trees, but for this one, I made an exception. It simply fascinates me that evidence of this living fossil’s existence has been found in rocks laid down during the Permian, 270 million years ago. The tree is extinct in the wild and its relatives were found 200 million years ago in Europe, is it’s kind of native (???).
Mine is a female tree, which makes me think I should give it a partner that bears pollen-forming structures (microsporangia)…Fruit are a delicacy in China and have medicinal uses.
Ginko biloba is a real survivor:
Some individual specimen are more than 2500 years old.
The species is highly resistant to fungus and insect attacks.
It tolerates lean soils, cold, air pollution, soil erosion…
While almost all other plants and animals succumbed to the explosion of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of the second world war, except for a number of Ginkgo trees, still alive today.