Notable Plants

Ginkgo biloba – Maiden Hair Tree


  • Height: 35-50′ through 70-80′
  • Spread: slightly less
  • Planted by: Llewellyn Bixby, Sr., circa 1941
  • Family: Ginkgoaceae
  • Synonyms
    • Common Names:
    • Botanical Names: Ginko, Salisburia adiantifolia

Ginkgo biloba - Maiden Hair TreeThis deciduous tree is known for spectacular autumn displays of gold color.  The new leaves emerge a beautiful spring green with unique parallel venation.  These veins fan out from the apex of the leaf giving the appearance of hair.  The leaves are found growing in clusters on spur-like shoots as well as directly from the major shoot.  At distinct intervals a cluster of leaves emerge from a thickening of tissue.  Then the shoot extends but pauses to develop another spur and so on.  These intervals of leaves give the tree an open aspect that allows sunlight to filter to the ground below.

Ginkgo is the only genus within the family Ginkgoaceae, a singular genus family is unusual but even more so is that this broad leafed tree is a gymnosperm, meaning that it has no “true” flowers.  While the male flowers are catkin-like similar to flowers on an oak, birch or alder, the female repository is not a flower at all but two ovules, typically only one of which will produce a downy 1” yellow fruit.  The fleshy layer has an odor that has given the tree a bad name. The smell has been labeled rank, rancid and repulsive.  If the fruit is allowed to decay the opinions become more forceful to; fetid, foul and worse!  The trees are dioecious, meaning a tree is either male or female, so a cutting taken from a male tree will never bear fruit.  However seedlings harvested from the female tree are anybodies guess and it won’t be until the tree has become an established part of the landscape and matured that the gender will revel itself.

Join a garden tour to hear the stories this plant has to tell!