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Ginkgo biloba L.: ginkgo

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Shepperd, Wayne D.

Year Published

2008

Publication

In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., eds. The Woody Plant Seed Manual. Agric. Handbook No. 727. Washington, DC. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. p. 559-561.

Abstract

Ginkgo is a monotypic genus native to China, the sole survivor of the ancient family of Ginkgoaceae (Bailey 1923; Dallimore and Jackson 1948; Seward and Gowan 1900). Geologic records indicate that ginkgos have grown on Earth for 150 million years (AGINFO 1994). This tall (<35 m) deciduous, sparsely branched, long-lived tree has been cultivated extensively in the Far East and Europe (AGINFO 1994; Bailey 1923, 1947; Seward and Gowan 1900). The foliage of this broadleaved gymnosperm consists of alternate, simple, fanshaped, leathery leaves 2 to 5 cm long, with forking parallel veination. Ginkgo trees grow in an upright pyramidal form, becoming broader and regular with age (AGINFO 1994). Ginkgo was introduced into North America in 1784 and has generally been successful on good sites in the moist temperate zone of the midwestern and eastern United States and along the St. Lawrence River in Canada (Bailey 1947; Rehder 1940). Ginkgo trees prefer full sunlight and welldrained conditions and are adaptable to many soils, but they are slow to recover from transplanting (AGINFO 1994). The male of the species is valued as an ornamental and shade tree, particularly as a park and street tree (Bailey 1947). Ginkgo is highly resistant to air pollution and can be grown in areas within its introduced range where air pollution damages other species. The cooked seeds are used for food by the Chinese, but the fleshy layer can cause dermatitis (AGINFO 1994; Porterfield 1940).

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Citation

Shepperd, Wayne D. 2008. Ginkgo biloba L.: ginkgo. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., eds. The Woody Plant Seed Manual. Agric. Handbook No. 727. Washington, DC. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. p. 559-561.

Last updated on: July 13, 2017