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Gingko Spring Days
"Late in November, on a single night
Not even near to freezing, the ginkgo trees
That stand along the walk drop all their leaves
In one consent, and neither to rain nor to wind
But as though to time alone: the golden and green
Leaves litter the lawn today, that yesterday
Had spread aloft their fluttering fans of light."
~ Night of the Ginkgo, Howard Nemerov
Although known for their beautiful golden color and magnificent show of dropping leaves in the fall, Spring sees the emergence of a luminescent green in the leaves of the ancient and revered Ginkgo tree, also known as the Maidenhair, long prized and cultivated not only for its unique fan-shaped leaves but for various uses in traditional medicine and even as a source of food. The name Ginkgo is regarded as a misspelling of the Japanese gin kyo, meaning "silver apricot." 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! Although slow growing, this tree is known for its longevity and can live for up to 3000 years! 🌳
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."
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.
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.
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."
For the more on Goethe's poem, including translation into many languages, click the leaves.