Scientific name: Ginkgo biloba
- Order: Ginkgoales
- Family: Ginkgoaceae
- Genus: Ginkgo
- Species: G. biloba
Although green in the summer, the foliage of the ginkgo tree is a gorgeous golden color in the fall. Native to China and cultivated around the world, the ginkgo has distinctive fan-shaped leaves and smelly fruit.
AN ANCIENT TREE
The last living member of its family and genus, the ginkgo is also one of the only surviving tree species that is still living after 150 million years. Because of its long history, the ginkgo is a symbol of longevity in some cultures.
The ancient Chinese used the fruit, or nut, of the ginkgo to treat dementia. In traditional Chinese culture, the nut of the ginkgo is also supposed to be a delicious delicacy. But beware! Without the right cooking procedures, the ginkgo nut can be poisonous.
Because female trees bear the notorious smelly ginkgo fruit, male trees are commonly planted along roads. Another fascinating fact is that four or more ginkgo trees in Hiroshima, Japan were among the few living things that survived the atomic bombing in 1945.