Ginkgo biloba – Maidenhair tree (China)
Habit: Asymmetrical large tree, (12) 15-25 (30) m tall, 10-15 m wide; stiffly upright when young, later broadly conical to asymmetrically round-crowned; branches arching upward, twigs horizontal, pendent in the lower crown; initially very slow-growing, after ca. 5 years medium-growing, 30-50 cm per year.
Flowers: Dioecious, inconspicuous.
Fruits: Female trees have fruits like mirabelles, long-stemmed, yellow, starting in October; smelling of rancid butter as they ripen; edible seeds.
Leaves: Late, often end of May; fanned out, pale green, leathery; golden yellow starting in November.
Roots: Cordate roots, very sensitive to soil compaction; suffers from competition from aggressive ground covering neighbours after planting.
Demands: Sun to light shade, tolerates heat, usually frost hardy, occasionally sensitive to late frost; resistant to urban pollution; wind resistant.
Soil: Dry to fresh; acidic to alkaline; on all nutritious substrates, heavy soil unfavourable as it increases frost damage; not tolerant of salt (!).
Nativ habitat: In the hilly countryside of the Yangtze Valley, the Ginkgo tree in found among low varieties of Acer and Amelanchier, Cornus controversa and C. kousa, evergreen varieties of Ilex and Ligustrum and varieties of Magnolia, Paulownia tomentosa, Prunus serrulata, Pyrus calleryana and numerous Quercus varieties. Juniperus and Pinus varieties grow in its vicinity, as do Chinese Black Pines.
Note: It is only a myth that male and female Ginkgo specimen are recognised by various leaf forms, various shooting times, and characteristic crown development.
Our tip: Ginkgo biloba can be used surprisingly well on a trellis; cutting must be done in spring before leaves shoot.
Hardiness: Zone 5a