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The ginkgo is the oldest seed plant in the world and is considered to be a living fossil. It is not a deciduous tree, no conifer and the only living species of the order Ginkgoales. Its first ancestor species already grew 1.300 million years ago, and the first ginkgo should have emerged about 250 million years ago and has since stayed virtually unchanged.
In the wild, this species is almost extinct, but the last populations in Zhejiang and Anwhei (China) are 4.000 years old. They contain 40 meters tall trees and are fortunately well protected.
The species is also often planted, more male than female plants. The female plants disperse a less pleasant smell, but the difference can only be seen during the fruit set.
The species has played an important role for thousands of years in Chinese medicine and is used to cure all kinds of ailments, including many age-related diseases such as dementia. Yet, there is no scientific evidence for the medicinal properties, but it still being researched.
The tree is completely winter hardy.
First carefully scarify the seeds with a knife or small saw and then let them soak in lukewarm water for 24 hours. Floating seeds can be scarified better, or will not germinate. Sinking seeds can be sown in a mix of sowing soil and sand (4:1). Let them germinate at 20-25 degC and keep the soil constantly moist. Germination should occur in 4 to 5 weeks.
All year round
Photo 1: P.B. Pelser