I ran across the most interesting story that I have ever heard about a tree, when I picked up a Ginkgo Biloba tree from the Boise Community Forestry Service.
You have probably heard of Ginkgo Biloba as a supplement, often taken to improve memory. Ginkgo Biloba has long been used medicinally in China. But in China the seeds are typically used where as in the West, we use the leaves.
The Ginkgo Biloba tree is a living Fossil and probably the oldest living seed plant in existence. It dates back about 270 million years.
Ginkgo trees predate the evolution of the flower. That seems odd to me, but Ginkgo’s existed in a time before plants evolved flowers to aid in reproduction
There are only 5 living groups of seed plants, and Ginkgo (Ginkgoales) is one of them. But it is unique because there is only a single living species in this entire group. The Ginkgo Biloba. Compare that to the most diverse group, Angiospermae. This group is comprised of an estimated 250,000 to 400,000 species.
The Ginkgo group has other species in it, but most of them seem to have died off more than 100 million years ago and became extinct in the America’s 7 million years ago.
The Ginkgo Biloba tree is widely planted in cities for various reasons. It was thought at one time to be extinct in the wild and only exist due to human planting. But there is evidence that wild Ginkgo Biloba trees exist in southern China.
Several Ginkgo Biloba trees survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. They are called Hibakujumoku (survivor trees or A-bombed tree in English).
The Ginkgo Biloba tree has an exceptionally large genome of 10.6 billion DNA nucleobase “letters” (the human genome has three billion).
The seeds of the female Ginkgo Biloba have a terrible smell. It is often compared to vomit. Interestingly, this is one of the reasons the Boise Forestry service removed this tree. The seeds would drop and pedestrians would step on them and track the smell into the buildings. Males do not produce fruit (and therefore the offensive smell) and are often planted vs females.
Here are some of the cuts from the tree that we got from the Boise forestry service. I have 4 slabs total and all are 3-4 inches thick and about . Two have sides with some interesting darker heart wood/ figure (pictured below). While the other sides show very little color. Check us out at http://www.208urbantimber.com/slabs.html