Plant of the Month - July
Ginkgo biloba - Maidenhair Tree Chosen by Gardener Kerr Dickson
This month we celebrate one of the oldest living tree species in the world, a tree steeped in history, standing strong and proud for the last 160 million years; the Ginkgo biloba commonly known as the maidenhair tree. It is described as a living fossil as it’s one of the oldest tree species in the world even believed to have existed before the dinosaurs.
The Maidenhair tree is now widely grown around the world as an ornamental plant native to China and Japan, so we are extremely proud to say we have three Ginkgo biloba species planted in our Rock Garden, most noticeably as you amble up through the middle of the garden near the pond.
It takes around 20 to 35 years for maidenhair trees to reach full maturity and start bearing fruits; they are large deciduous trees with an irregular spreading crown and deeply crackled bark. The botanical name of ginko refers to their fan-shaped leaves, and bilboa means rounded lobe describing the two lobes that make up the ginkgo leaves. In autumn the leaves turn cheerful shades of sunny yellow standing out powerfully amongst the brownish-orange colours of autumn foliage.
These ancient trees provide immense value in the Western world of herbal medicine; the leaves are used to relieve Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia and Vertigo as well as being used in traditional Chinese medicine. Being disease-resistant and tolerant of pollution it is no wonder these ancient tree species live for millions of years, and we can only imagine the wonders they have seen and stories they could tell!
The Ginkgo biloba - Maidenhair Tree is truly a notable irreplaceable tree and worthy of recognition. Why not visit our Rock Garden to pay tribute and get to know this magnificent plant and maybe wonder at what it might have witnessed in its lifetime.