08 October 2011

Time to gather the Ginkgo seed

fruit is a nut with a fleshy covering

The Ginkgo Tree is also called the "Maidenhair tree" and nicknamed "The Stink Bomb Tree."  An erratic vertical branching structure is the trees natural form. As a bonsai the strong upright branching creates the 'candle flame' style. Basal and aerial "chi-chi" form on older trees.

Gather the seeds as they fall from the tree (wear good latex gloves). Remove the fleshy coating (wear good gloves!) crush the coat and squeeze the seed out with ones fingers. Then rinse the seeds a few times until they are very clean!) and let them dry well. Store them in a closed container filled with slightly moistened sphagnum moss in the fridge or in a cool, dry place until they are planted in spring. When they are sown, carefully pop the seed shell open.

Ginkgo in Forsyth Park
Savannah, Ga

Some people are sensitive to the chemicals in the fleshy outer layer. These people should handle the seeds with care when preparing the seeds, wear disposable gloves. When I cleaned the seed of these trees, I had several 5 gallon buckets full. The cheap rubber gloves developed holes and my entire arm was coated with the juice. fortunately I had no allergic reaction, but the next morning my arms had turned black. Two weeks later the skin pealed a way........

   A 1980 Seedling in 2011

Ginkgo seeds and leaves are used as a medicine throughout the world. In South Carolina at the "medicine tree farmGinkgo leaves are harvested and shipped to Europe to be made into a prescription drug.

Another 1980 Seedling in 2011

Ginkgo trees are a "living fossil" and the earliest leaf fossils date from 270 million years ago. It was rediscovered in 1691 in China. The Ginkgo is a good urban tree because of its ability to tolerate drought, heat, and poor soils. Ginkgo is dioecious. There are male and female trees. Some complain of the mess and odor created by the fleshy seed covering and recommend planting only the male of the species. Sad if only male ginkgos are planted without females counterparts. 

 In the fall the leaves
turn a brilliant yellow!

Legend has it that the residents of Augusta, Ga planted a ginkgo tree during President George Washington’s visit in 1791.The tree is on the grounds of the Old Government House on Telfair Street.

The oldest living ginkgo tree in the United States was planted in 1785 by William Bartram at Bartram’s Garden near Philadelphia. Bartram traveled the American South from 1773 to 1776 and in 1791 he published an account of his adventure- Travels.

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