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Yellow autumn leaves of Ginkgo biloba
Yellow autumn leaves of Ginkgo biloba

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Zone
Zones A3, 1-10, 12, 14-24, 26, 28-44
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate
Ginkgo biloba at Filoli Center, Woodside, CA
Ginkgo biloba at Filoli Center, Woodside, CA

Ginkgo biloba

Maidenhair Tree
Ginkgoaceae
Deciduous, Trees

Ancient survivor from prehistoric times (200 million years ago), when it grew worldwide; now native only to two small areas in China. Graceful tree, attractive in any season, especially in fall, when leathery light green leaves of spring and summer suddenly turn gold (they practically glow when backlit by the sun). Leaves hang on for a time, then drop quickly and cleanly to make golden carpet where they fall.

Related to conifers but differs in having broad (1 to 4-in.-wide), fan-shaped leaves rather than needlelike foliage. In shape and veining, leaves resemble leaflets of maidenhair fern, hence tree's common name. Can grow 70 or 80 ft. tall, but most mature trees are 35 to 50 ft. May be gawky in youth, but becomes well proportioned with age; narrow to spreading, or even umbrella shaped. Typical width is no more than one-half to two-thirds height. Usually grows slowly, about 1 ft. a year, but under ideal conditions can grow up to 3 ft. a year.

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