The Story of Ginkgo biloba

"Ginkgo has for centuries appealed to the imagination of the Oriental mind: the tree with leaves like Golden Duck's feet became an object of veneration; a legacy, it might be, from a golden age and as such possessing miraculous power."  - Albert Seward [1938] Scientific Progress 32:420-440

"The primitive cycads and ginkgo provide beautiful examples of extant intermediates in the evolution of sexual reproduction of the angiosperms and more advanced gymnosperms, having evolved the pollen grain but still utilizing a motile sperm."

- Jeremy Pickett-Heaps

"We, despite our matter of fact Western outlook, pay homage to the sacred tree of the East because its story, written in the sands of time, gives us a vision of enduring life. The maidenhair tree appeals to the historic souls: we see it as an emblem of changelessness, a heritage from worlds of an age too remote for our human intelligence to grasp, a tree which has in its keeping The Secrets of the Immeasurable Past."

- Albert Seward [1938] Scientific Progress 32:420-440

"When ginkgo was first known to European taxonomists, it was regarded as one of the conifers, and included in the Taxaceae.

"However, in 1895, Hirase, a botanist at Tokyo University, published his discovery that the ovules are fertilized by motile sperm cells conveyed by tubes similar to pollen tubes. This differs radically from all other conifers and flowering plants, which have non-motile male nuclei. Motile sperms are found only in the lower plants, ferns and cycads.

"This discovery established the unique nature of ginkgo, which was raised to ordinal rank by Engler. Ginkgo is thus the only living species in the order."

- Robert W. Ridge [1987]


The Ginkgo pages - the best compendium of Ginkgo data by Cor Kwant.

Brief notes on Ginkgo biloba by Robert W. Ridge is short and concise.

Gymnosperm Database General information about Ginkgos and other gymnosperms edited by Christopher J. Earle

Ohio State University site featuring usage and other selections on Ginkgo.

Introduction to the Ginkgoales from University of California, Berkeley.

Dominique Mouchel's Ginkgo site includes photos, links, natural history and the botany of Ginkgo [in French].



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This page was last updated on 04/07/2009



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