5. Ginkgo Ginkgo biloba

Family: Ginkgoaceae


The Ginkgo is the only survivor from a group of plants that became extinct two and half million years ago. Before the Ginkgo the only trees were like tree ferns that reproduced by spores. Ginkgo fossils 270 million years old have been found making it the oldest surviving tree. Thr name biloba (two lobed) comes from the shape of the leaf. It is a native of China but is now cultivated widely around the world. Extracts from the leaf are supposed to have beneficial effects for Dementia & Alzheimers. Many other medicinal uses are claimed for Ginkgo. The trees can live for over 2000 years. Trees are either male or female with male trees preferred for parks and gardens  There are several Ginkgos in the park  including this rather strange one. This one has chichi on the trunk. They are sometimes called breasts from their shape and are woody growths that can hang right to the ground and form new trees. They are usually found only on old ginkgo trees. This tree is male. There are two females nearby. In April they produce seeds that are covered with a soft fleshy material that smell like vomit which makes them very unpopular as garden trees.