Celebrating 10 Years with a Gingko Biloba Tree

A Symbol of The Herb Companion's Growth

| October/November 1998

  • The Herb Companion staff thanks all its readers for ten fruitful years.
  • The Herb Companion staff thanks all its readers for ten fruitful years.
    Photograph by Steven Foster
  • The Herb Companion staff thanks all its readers for ten fruitful years.
    Photograph by Joe Coca

To celebrate our tenth anniversary, The Herb Companion sponsored the public planting of an herbal tree this summer. We’re strong and growing, and we chose as our symbol a true survivor, Ginkgo biloba, a big, beautiful, useful, hardy tree associated with memory, longevity and graceful aging.

Members of the staff of the Denver Botanic Gardens planted the 10-foot ginkgo tree for us in late July at the northeast corner of the herb garden. The next time you’re strolling through the Denver Botanic Gardens (located at 1005 York Street in east Denver), follow signs to the herb garden and look for The Herb Companion’s ginkgo near the gazebo; a marker identifies it. And stay with us over the coming years, readers, for regular reports on the progress of our birthday tree.

Why Ginkgo? 

Ginkgos are ancient, one of the oldest tree species on Earth. The fossil record shows that its ancestors were alive 225 million years ago and that G. biloba itself has existed unchanged for perhaps 150 million years. It probably originated in eastern China but spread around the world and has been cultivated for thousands of years in the Far East. One Korean specimen is known to be 1,100 years old.

The trouble-free ginkgo tolerates heat, salt, and air pollution. Proof of the stamina and longevity of this tree was seen after the atomic bomb devastated Hiroshima in 1945. A ginkgo sprouted new leaves from its blackened stump the following spring, the only tree in the immediate area of the blast that was not killed outright. That tree is still alive today.

Ginkgo trees may grow as tall as 100 feet and as broad as 50 feet but typically are 20 to 40 feet tall in landscape plantings. They may be vase-shaped or pyramidal. The corky, furrowed gray bark contrasts attractively with the color of the fan-shaped leaves, emerald green in summer and clear yellow in fall. Unlike most trees, ginkgos drop nearly all their leaves at once in the fall. Cultivars with different forms (such as columnar, conical, weeping, and others) are available, as are forms with especially nice fall color. Ginkgos are widely used as street trees and are splendid in parks.



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