Ginkgo biloba

Maiden's hair tree

The Ginkgo has moved many people. The extraordinary leaves, its origins, its medicinal effect and other aspects make this tree something special. This is why it has been promoted to 'Plant of the World'.

Origins
The Ginkgo has its origins in China. In the 9th century the tree was imported to Japan, where it was planted at many temples. It is therefore known in Japan as the Temple Tree. In the 18th century the tree was also brought to Europe and North America. The tree is a familiar sight here now.

Ginkgo biloba - Maiden's hair tree

Ginkgo biloba - Maiden's hair tree

Classification
It is difficult to classify the Ginkgo The even grain structure (see photo left) suggests it may be a conifer. However, the seeds are not exposed, which is a characteristic required to make it a conifer. The leaves turn a beautiful shade of yellow in the autumn, and then drop off.

Goethe
The tree inspired the German poet so much that he wrote a poem about it. The English translation is as follows:

 

This leaf from a tree in the East,
Has been given to my garden.
It reveals a certain secret,
Which pleases me and thoughtful people.

Does it represent One living creature
Which has divided itself?
Or are these Two, which have decided,
That they should be as One?

To reply to such a Question,
I found the right answer:
Do you notice in my songs and verses
That I am One and Two?

Ginkgo biloba - Maiden's hair tree
Ginkgo biloba - Maiden's hair tree

Hiroshima
The Ginkgo is a very strong tree. Six Ginkgo even survived the atom bomb in Hiroshima in 1945. Left, a photo of Shukkeien garden after the attack and right, a photo of the garden after reconstruction. Today, it is still an easy tree to care for. The plant is hardly susceptible to plagues or fungi. The growing of the tree is therefore easy.

Ginkgo biloba - Maiden's hair tree

Medicine
Medicinal effects are attributed to the Ginkgo. So-called flavonglycosides and terpene lactones in the leaf help improve circulation, which has a positive effect on various conditions. In particular, it has a stimulating effect on the brains and is therefore a preventative aid against memory loss and early dementia. There is a growing medicinal industry and the products are available in a wide range of health food shops and chemists.

Ginkgo biloba - Maiden's hair tree
Ginkgo biloba - Maiden's hair tree

Tea recipe
You can also benefit from your own tea, by making tea from the leaves. The recipe is as follows: Take 100 grams of fresh leaves and boil them with 500 ml water. Allow it to boil for a few minutes and pour it through a sieve. For the winter: dry the leaves and use 50 grams of dried leaves for 500 ml water.

Multiplication
There are male and female trees, and only the females bear fruit. This fleshy fruit is edible, though the flavour is not appealing. The fruit holds the seeds or nuts. The seeds do not require any processing before sowing.

Ginkgo biloba - Maiden's hair tree

Care
The Ginkgo is an easy tree and does not require and special care. The plant can be shaped in an attractive way by pruning it in a column shape. The best time to do this is winter. On the photo you can see a tree that has been shaped that way.

More info

More info on the Ginkgo can be found at:
http://kwanten.home.xs4all.nl/nedindex.htm 
http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanse_notenboom 

Ginkgo biloba - Maiden's hair tree