Ginkgo biloba

(Photo by Jessica Bartek)

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Taxonomy (1,2)

Classification: Gymnosperm
Family: Ginkgoaceae
Common name: Ginkgo, Maidenhair tree

General Information (1,3,4)

Region of Origin: Eastern China
USDA Plants Hardiness Zones: 3-8
Growth Habit: Tree

  • Size: 120 feet
  • Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
  • Cones: March-April

Diagnostic Characteristics

Leaves (2)

  • Arrangement: Alternate
  • Simple/Compound: Simple
  • Shape: Fan

Stem/Bark (1)

  • Color: Gray-brown
  • Texture: Stringy, peeling, ridged and furrowed

(Photo by Nicole Rutledge)

Pollen Cone (1)

  • Spirally arranged microsporangia

Seed Cone (2)

  • Naked seed
  • Color: Tan to orangeish

Horticultural Information (1,3)

  • Light: Full sun
  • Moisture: Moderate
  • Soil type: Sandy
  • Maintenance: Prune in spring
  • Landscape Uses: Ornamental, street tree

Interesting Facts (3)

  • The Gingko tree is the only living representative of the Ginkoaceae family
  • The wood of the gingko is used as a base of lacquer ware and for abacus beads and other small articles
  • It is advisable to plant male trees only due to the nauseating smell of female trees’ “fruits”


1) Dirr, M. (1998). Manual of woody landscape plants: Their identification, ornamental characteristics, culture, propagation and uses (5th ed.). Champaign, Ill.: Stipes Pub..
2) Scheper, Jack. (2012, March 23). Gingko biloba. Floridata. Retrieved April 1, 2013, from
3) Brickell, C., Cole, T. J. (. J., & American Horticultural Society. (2002). American Horticultural Society encyclopedia of plants and flowers (Rev. and updated. ed.). New York: DK Pub..

Prepared by Nicole Rutledge as a course requirement for BIOL 3630/5630, Spring 2013
Edited by Jessica Bartek