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Tree Campus: Ginkgo/Maidenhair Tree

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


Ginkgo/Maidenhair Tree

Ginkgo biloba (GINKGOACEAE)






"Some old Ginkgos produce aerial roots, known as chichi (Japanese; "nipples") or zhong-ru (Chinese), which form on the undersides of large branches and grow downwards. Chichi growth is very slow, and may take hundreds of years to occur. The function, if any, of these thick aerial roots is unknown...

Male cultivars are preferable, as not only is the odor of the fallen seeds unpleasant, but the abundant crops can also be very messy." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"The Ginkgo nut-like gametophytes inside the seeds are a traditional Chinese food often served at weddings. They are believed to have health benefits or have aphrodisiac qualities. Japanese cooks add Ginkgo seeds to dishes such as chawammushi, and cooked seeds are often eaten along with other dishes...

Ginkgo is a slow-grower adaptable, hardy tree for use as a specimen or grown in groups for commercial production. It transplants well, establishes easily and is often planted in parks, arboreta and botanical gardens as a point of interest...

The ginkgo has been cultivated for centuries in China and Japan and it is a sacred tree in the Far East." [1]



"The Ginkgo wood is of little value due to its scarcity. It is lightweight, brittle, yellow and in China and Japan, is used for chess sets, chopping blocks and firewood. The leaves are harvested for uses as a blood thinner and to treat circulatory illnesses.

The extract from the Ginkgo leaves contains flavonoid glycosides, and ginkgolides. The extract is said to be a memory enhancer, and antivertigo agent. There are three effects on the human body: (1) it improves blood flow (including microcirculation in small capillaries) to most tissues and organs; (2) it protects against oxidative cell damage from free radicals (antioxidant); and (3) it blocks many of the effects of PAF (platelet aggregation, blood clotting) that have been related to the development of a number of cardiovascular, renal, respiratory and CNS (Central Nervous System) disorders.

Ginkgo is also added in small amounts to energy drinks, but it does not produce a noticeable effect, except as a placebo, or marketing tool from Ginkgo being listed on the label." [1]



[1] Moore, L. and Walker Wilson, J. Plant Guide: Ginkgo. USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center.

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