Herb of the Month – Ginkgo Biloba

GINKGO BILOBA –  A Living Fossil

This beautiful Autumn golden deciduous tree is the one remaining species of the Ginkgoaceae family and was around before the dinosaurs, when there were ferns but no true flowering plants. Charles Darwin referred to it as “A living fossil”.

Fossil leaf remains indicate that it had a worldwide distribution 200 million years ago. It became native to South East Asia known to the Chinese as “Ngren hang” (silver apricot). It became “Ginkyo” in Japan and “Ginkgo” or “Maidenhair Tree” in the western world.

The leaves resemble gigantic Maidenhair fern leaves. It lives for hundreds of years. The tree will grow from cuttings but is best raised from seed. Over time it can reach 30 metres in height.

Trees are either male or female. The male trees bear small modified cones on small stalks from the trunk but if you are into odour tourism check out the female tree on the northern side of Armagh Street between Park Terrace and Cranmer Square. The small, squashy “silver apricot” fruit stinks!

The Ginkgo tolerates and reduces polluted conditions and the male tree is grown on city streets worldwide.

It has long been know throughout Asia for its healing powers.

Today in the West there is an awareness and use of Ginkgo for many conditions, especially those related to poor circulation.

See more from The Canterbury HERB Society

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