the ginkgo biloba leaves and fruit
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Ginkgo Biloba Plant


Biloba ginkgo plant is the last remaining extant species or existing species of the ginkgos. A number of ginkgo relatives could be found in the fossil record. Collecively known as ginkgoales, these plants date back to the Permina. But it was in the Jurassic age that they attain prominence in number and in Cretaceous age, the maximum diversity.

You can tell a male biloba ginkgo plant from a female biloba ginkgo plant. A male biloba ginkgo plant is usually slightly longer than the female and has a slim column form. Females have wider crown and are more spread out in appearance.

Biloba ginkgo plants are classified under gymnosperms. Biloba ginkgo plants closely resemble the conifers more than any other gymnosperms. Gymnosperms mean “naked seed”. This refers to the plants’ seeds not enclose in a fruit but by cones and fleshy seed coat, an attribute common in all gymnosperms plant.

Most gymnosperms have both sexes on the same plant. But biloba ginkgo plant is dioecious gymnosperms, meaning male and female are found in separate trees.

Biloba ginkgo plant used to be classified in class Coniferopsida because of its close resemblance to conifers under the gymnosperms. But confers and biloba ginkgo plant seem to evolve separately.

The leaves are one of the distinctive features of a biloba ginkgo plant. The term biloba refers to the leave’s bi-lobe. They have no midrib and are fan-shaped. They are usually 5 to 8 cm. wide. The leaves are similar to that of a Maidenhair’s fern, hence the nickname Maidenhair given to biloba ginkgo plant.

As biloba ginkgo plant can live up to a 1,000 years old or older. In China, a 3,500 year-old biloba ginkgo, reputed to be the oldest, can be found. It is used as an ornamental plant in some parts of the world like the U.S. But in Japan, Korea, Europe and U.S. and China, the biloba ginkgo plant is grown largely for pharmaceutical purposes.

The biloba ginkgo plant is very adaptable and can grow in any kind of soil. Biloba ginkgo plant is also resistant to pests, fungal, viral and bacterial diseases. Biloba ginkgo plant can also withstand pollution, fire even radioactive radiation as seen in World ward II where several biloba ginkgo plants survived the Hiroshima bombing. It can also tolerate snows and ice storms.

A biloba ginkgo plant usually takes 10 to 12 years to grow to 6 meters (20 feet) tall. It also requires 20 years for a biloba ginkgo plant to take its rounded form.

Female and male pollen cones usually appear after 20-35 years for the first time in spring. Pollination tales place through the wind since female can be found separate from male biloba ginkgo plant. Female biloba ginkgo plant can usually carry seeds even without pollination. Fertilized ovules in female can turn into yellowish, plum like fruit about 2.5 cm. in length. In Japan and china, they prefer the female biloba ginkgo plant variety because of the nuts which they made use for medicinal purposes too.

Biloba ginkgo plant’s sturdy features make it adaptable to even the most harsh environment conditions. It has survived for the past 250 million years. And it won’t be a huge surprise to find this ‘living fossil’, biloba ginkgo plant existing in another 250 million years or so.

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