Saturday, November 8, 2014


Male - Female
Who wouldn't feel playful under one of France's favorite ornamental trees from China? That half of the Ginko Biloba trees we saw at the arboretum this week were already yellow or turning yellow while the other half were still green left us perplexed, until we read that the male trees are more precocious than the females. In the spring, the male trees' leaves appear two weeks earlier than the females', and yellow as well two weeks earlier in the autumn. The ancient and resistant to pollution species is commonly known in France as l'arbre aux quarante ├ęcus owing to the fact that in the late 18th-century a French botanist bought five ginkos from an English botanist, paying 40 ├ęcus d'or or gold coins for each tree.

©2014 P.B. Lecron

An update...
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  1. Another beautiful and informative essay--and a most lovely tree. There are few things more beautiful that a ginko in full autumnal mode with the morning or evening sun falling laterally upon it. A friend of mine, a poet-physicist, described one as "a golden cocoon".

  2. Thank you! There are a number of ginko fun facts, two of which are that (1) it's a veritable living fossil, predating dinosaurs, and (2) when ripe seeds fall from the female trees they give off an unpleasant odor that has been likened to--of all things--monkey vomit. Obviously for plantings in urban areas the male trees are preferred!

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