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Gingko Spring Days

"This leaf from a tree in the East,
Has been given to my garden.
It reveals a certain secret,
Which pleases me and thoughtful people."

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1819

Ginkgo biloba, also known as the maidenhair tree, is the only living species in its division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. Native to China, it is one of the best-known examples of a living fossil - the sole survivor of an ancient group of trees older than the dinosaurs dating back 270 million years. Its unique fan shaped leaves turn a beautiful gold during the autumn months and although a slow grower, can live for 3000 years! It has long been cultivated for various uses in traditional medicine and as a source of food. The name Ginkgo is regarded as a misspelling of the Japanese gin kyo, meaning "silver apricot." 🌳

Apr 12

Gingko
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Ginkgo Leaves
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The poem "Ginkgo biloba" was written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe German poet, scientist, botanist and philosopher, who dedicated it to his former sweetheart Marianne von Willemer in 1815.

 

Ginkgo biloba (also spelled gingko) and also known as the maidenhair tree, is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. Native to China, it is one of the best-known examples of a living fossil - the sole survivor of an ancient group of trees older than the dinosaurs.

 

It has long been cultivated by man and has various uses in traditional medicine and as a source of food. The name Ginkgo is regarded as a misspelling of the Japanese gin kyo, meaning "silver apricot."

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The leaves are unique among seed plants, being fan-shaped with veins radiating out into the leaf blade, sometimes bifurcating (splitting), but never forming a network.  Two veins enter the leaf blade at the base and fork repeatedly in two.

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The nut-like fruit inside the seeds are particularly esteemed in Asia, and are a traditional Chinese food. Ginkgo nuts are used in congee, and are often served at special occasions such as weddings and the Chinese New Year.

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The tartan, inspired by the tree, and designed by Carol A.L. Martin, includes "lines in two's like the bi-lobed shape of the leaves on a ginkgo tree."

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For the more on Goethe's poem, including translation into many languages, click the leaves.