Ginkgo (Maidenhair Tree)


Ginkgo biloba

Leaves: Deciduous. Leaves are shaped like a broad, spreading fan with a scalloped edge. Leaves grow in clusters of 3-5 from a short twig or spur. The leaf is 2-3” long and 2-3” wide. Bright green color. Fall color is golden or pale yellow and quite spectacular.

Bark/Twigs: Bark is light grey-brown with tight ridges and darker shallow furrows.

Flowers/Fruit: Inconspicuous flowers in March-April. Dioecious- species have both male and female trees.  Female trees produce a tan to orange colored plum-like fruit about 1” diameter with an edible seed. The fruit has an unpleasant smell and are extremely messy.

Mature size and shape: Large. 50-80’h x 30-40’w. Rather open and mostly pyramidal shape. Branches are widely spaced and appear stiff.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun. Prefers sandy soil but tolerates almost any soil condition. Tolerant of pollution or smoke and is a durable tree for difficult landscape situations. Drought tolerant as well as salt tolerant. Tolerant of compacted soil.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Good specimen or shade tree. Slow to medium growing rate. Average maintenance. All varieties in the nurseries are male so there is not a problem with the fruit. Transplants easily and establishes without difficulty. 

USDA Hardiness Zone:  3-8

Family/Origin: Ginkgoaceae – Ginkgo. A native of China and Japan, where it has long been cultivated in temple gardens.  Ginkgos are considered one of the oldest trees in the world and are often called "living fossils," with the earliest leaf fossils dating over 200 million years ago. Ginkgos were once native to North America. 

Campus use: Common. Can be found southwest of the Park Building (Bld 1).