Sunday, November 01, 2009

Gingko biloba

This is a good time of year to spot Gingko trees (Gingko biloba), a commonly planted tree in Princeton. It is a "living fossil", meaning that the western world knew it only from fossil evidence before it was discovered growing in China. Its bright yellow foliage stands out now, with leaves clustered along lanky branches. The leaves grow off of "short shoots" that project from the branch (see second photo). Female gingkos are a mixed blessing, as they litter the ground with malodorous fruits.

One owner of a large female tree told me he used the odor to advantage, by dumping the fruits back in the woods where some teenagers had occasionally been getting together to drink.

The gingko in these photos is at Little Brook Elementary. It will be interesting to see how quickly it sheds its leaves. Some drop them all in a day.

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