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Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo, Maidenhair Tree

A large tree to more than 40 m (130 ft.) tall, native to China, with unique fan-shaped, bilobed, bright green leaves that have many parallel veins. They turn beautifully yellow in fall and are deciduous in winter. Ginkgo is a living fossil that has not changed very much since the lower Jurassic, 175+ million years ago, and its relatives date back to the Permian, 270 million years ago. It has no close relatives among living plants but is placed within the gymnosperms and near the cycads. The seeds are popular in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Ginkgo also has a number of medicinal uses. It is an easy to grow plant and a popular ornamental for temperate climates in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9.

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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

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Seeds from this species ...

... need up to 1 year to sprout.
I have germinated these in a few different ways, and I think if the seed is fresh, then it's fairly straightforward. They do well when chilled for a few months before setting out at growing temperatures. I don't know if the embryo might need to mature or if it's just a temperature change signaling that winter has passed... but cold-stratified seed definitely come up best. I have kept the seed in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge for several months prior to sowing and setting out in pots over the spring and summer (Irish, so not very warm). I have also planted directly into growing boxes of leafy compost and overwintered outdoors. I had a large bag of them from the Chinese market, and feeling lazy, I really piled them into the grow box, about an inch apart, and in four or five layers. I figured I would be removing them as they sprouted anyway. I wrapped the entire grow box in wire mesh to keep out mice and squirrels.... a necessary precaution!In both cases, the seeds germinated in flushes, some appearing after as long as two years, but the biggest flushes being the first spring and summer, a month or so apart. If the seeds are fresh, and cold-stratified first, they are easy.
Submitted on 28/02/2011 by Erik van Lennep

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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