What is Gingko biloba? Well, that depends on who you ask. The Gingko biloba tree is a relic from the past. It is the last surviving member of a family of trees called Gingkoplyta. This ancient family of trees can be found in fossil records dating back at least 250 million years Today, we are left with the tree we call Gingko biloba. It was first documented by Carl Linneaus back in 1771, but the Chinese and Japanese have admired this tree for many thousands of years.
Gingko Biloba – The Miracle Tree
The Japanese have many different names for the Gingko biloba tree. It is considered as a national treasure in Japan, and can be seen lining parks and streets. You can grow your own if you like. It is a rather tolerant tree, but outside a pot, it does not seem to like being pruned. However, it is perfect for the ancient Japanese art of Bonsai. Grown in a pot, it seems to thrive and will easy fruit. Don’t be tempted to eat the fruits as they can easily cause an allergic reaction.
To see the best examples, it could be worth your while to travel to Japan. In Japan, the Gingko tree forms part of many Bonsai displays, but a very special one can be see in the Kobe temple Hosenji. This tree is tenderly looked after by the local monks, and it is said to be well over 2000 years. Today, the tree still fruits every year and carries on growing.
Six Gingko biloba trees survived the nuclear blast of Hiroshima in 1945. They were charred and burned, but even though they were only 1 mile from ground zero, they still flourish today. No visit to Hiroshima is complete without seeing the trees. This is why the Japanese call Gingko biloba the miracle tree.
Gingko Biloba – Many Names Same Tree
In the West, the Gingko biloba is often called the Maidenhair tree. It is grown in parks and along roads, and famous for its power to improve air quality in cities. If you have a sizeable garden, you may even want to plant one. They are very hardy, and as long as you leave it to its own devices, it will grow happily for many years. Remember that it will grow very big, so it could be worth considering training the tree into a Bonsai plant.
The Chinese called Gingko biloba the Silver fruit tree. The nuts which are produced by the tree can easily cause an allergic reaction. In China, they are only added to food once a year, and only a small amount is used. They are part of most traditional Chinese New Year’s celebrations, but are only eaten around this time of the year to celebrate the new year. It is known that the nuts can act as an aphrodisiac, and at the moment, a lot of research into other health benefits is ongoing. However, we know that the leaves can be safely harvested and used in herbal remedies. As a matter of fact, Gingko biloba has been used as part of Traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
So, what is Gingko biloba? It is a living fossil, a herbal remedy and a symbol for eternal life. The truth is that Gingko biloba is so much more than just another tree.