November 2022 - Ginkgo

Common Name: Ginkgo Tree. Has been called the Maidenhair Tree due to the shape of the leaf

Botanical Name: Ginkgo biloba

Native Range: Native to China however utilized worldwide USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8

Height: 50’-80’

Spread: Variable spread

Form: Upright arching branches develop into an ornamental oval crown at maturity

Growth Rate: Slow to medium depending on upon water and fertilizer. Ginkgo tends to be columnar and slender when young.

Sun: Full sun

Soil: Very adaptable tree. Tolerates drought conditions, wet conditions, low pH, high pH, salt spray, urban conditions. Prefers rich moist soils.

Leaf Description: Distinctive fan-shaped leaf, triangular with a notch in the blade.

Fall Color: Yellow

Flower Description: Male trees have catkins that shed pollen in mid-spring. Female trees have smaller green ovules which, when pollinated, develop yellow-orange seeds in autumn

Fruit: Female tree will have a 2” ovule of a fruit that is edible, but has a rotten scent. Male cultivars are typically planted to avoid the fruit.

Bark Description: Gray-brow ridges with darker furrows which is described as “quite handsome.”

Wildlife Benefit: Nesting for birds

Tolerates: Urban conditions, pollution, clay soil, wet soil, drought, high pH, low pH, road salt, acidity, alkalinity

Possible Disease and Insect Problems: None serious


• Street or boulevard tree for tough locations

• Shade trees for parks, campuses, and residential environments

Where to be found on municipal property: There is a specimen Ginkgo Tree in Marquand Park in the eastern lawn area, a group of mature specimens in addition to a newly planted ginkgo are located at the cross street of Mercer and Alexander, on Alexander. There is also a line of Ginkgo’s on Prospect Ave adjacent to Riverside School.

Additional Facts:

• Estimated to have 190-220 million years of continuous growth. • The oldest living Ginkgo Tree is found in China at the Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple and is more than 1400 years old

• Considered a sacred tree in China and Japan.

• Parts of the tree are used in traditional Chinese medicine. • The ginkgo is the only tree in its plant family, Ginkgoaceae.

• The tree is the sole surviving plant of the Hiroshima bombing of 1945

• The bark secretes sap that is thought to be fire retardant.

• Leaves are sewn and used as bookmarks in Japan and are known to protect books from insects.

• Seeds of the ginkgo tree are used in traditional Chinese and Japanese cooking.

• According to legend, Confucius spent many hours each day under a ginkgo tree reading, writing, and thinking.

• Leaves tend to drop all at once in the fall.

• Because of its deep roots and ability to withstand strong winds and adverse weather, the ginkgo is considered a good street tree choice.

• Due to their tolerance of urban conditions, Ginkgo trees will be a tree planted along Witherspoon Street


Dirr, Michael A., Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses, 5th Edition, Stipes Publishing L.L.C., 1998.

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