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Ginkgo biloba

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
GIN-koh bih-LOW-bah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Ginkgo is a long lived prehistoric tree, in the Ginkgoaceae family.  A large deciduous tree it reaches 50  to 80 feet in height and 30 to 40 feet wide.  It has unique fan shaped leaves and plum like yellow orange seeds on the female trees only.  It has a distinct sculptural shape and brings a beautiful quality of light as the sun filters through its canopy. 

Plant in full sun this tree tolerates a large range of soil types except for wet soils.  It grows in Zone 8 and 9 in the Southeast. 

The showy yellow leaves drop rapidly in fall.  This tree is tolerant of drought, heat, air pollution, and is moderately salt tolerant.  Resistant to  browsing by by deer.  This easy to transplant tree makes an excellent choice for urban settings, and it is also popular for use in bonsai.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Fruits from female trees are messy and foul smelling fleshy seeds so plant male trees,  May cause contact dermatitis in some people.  

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Plant Walls and Hedges
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Bryson City', 'Golden Globe', 'Mariken'
Tags:
#deciduous#poisonous#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#specimen#bonsai#salt tolerant#tsc#air pollution tolerant#street tree#playground#cpp#deer resistant#children's garden#edible garden#fantz#messy fruits#fall color yellow#malodorous#tsc-cg
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Bryson City', 'Golden Globe', 'Mariken'
Tags:
#deciduous#poisonous#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#specimen#bonsai#salt tolerant#tsc#air pollution tolerant#street tree#playground#cpp#deer resistant#children's garden#edible garden#fantz#messy fruits#fall color yellow#malodorous#tsc-cg
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ginkgo
    Species:
    biloba
    Family:
    Ginkgoaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China South-Central and China Southeast
    Play Value:
    Sound
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wind Shimmer
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This tree is resistant to damage by deer, excellent city tree.
    Edibility:
    The seed, freed of the outer pulp and washed, is boiled or roasted and eaten and also available in Asian food stores
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Horizontal
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    As a gymnosperm, Ginkgo does not produce fruit but its seeds (only on female trees) are plumlike, yellow-orange, the outer, fleshy pulp foul-smelling when ripe, the inner wall hard, smooth, and cream colored. When the seeds fall to the ground they can be quite messy. Most of the ornamental ginkgoes in the United States are male.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Green
    Orange
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Ginkgos are gymnosperms and do not produce "flowers" however they are dioecious with separate male and female trees. Male plants produce small pollen cones with sporophylls. Female plants produce ovules at the end of a stalk. Fertilization occurs via motile sperm, as in cycads, ferns, mosses, and algae.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Smooth
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    2-3 in. emerald green, fan-shaped, alternate, simple leaf in clusters of three to five; yellow fall color. Dichotomously veined in clusters.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    Grey-brown bark in ridges.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Imbricate mounded acute.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat
    Pollution
    Salt
    Urban Conditions
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Malodorous
    Messy
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN. SKIN IRRITATION MINOR OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES. Irritation of the skin following contact with the juice of the seed pulp; irritation of lips, mouth, and throat and stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea after eating the pulp.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    An alkyl phenol and ginkgolic acid
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Seeds