Ginkgo is a plant called a living fossil. In the modern world, there is one type of this relic - Ginkgo biloba (Gínkgo bilóba), belonging to the class Ginkgo (Ginkgoopsida).
Why is the tree so called
The original name of the tree was Ginkjo, but Engelbert Kempfer, referring to it in 1712 in the Amoenitatum exoticarum, made a mistake by writing Ginkgo. Then Karl Linney repeated this mistake in 1771 in Mantissa plantarum II, and the tree was called just like that.
The epithet biloba (two lobes) in the name characterizes the leaves of the tree, divided into two halves.
The Japanese name for this plant, icho (ito), translates as "silver apricot."
Charles Darwin, emphasizing the ancient origin of the tree, called it a "living fossil."
The English often call this plant the Maidenhair tree - the “girl’s braid tree” by analogy with one of the ferns “the braid venerea” (the scientific name is Adiantum), since the leaves of this fern are similar to ginkgo leaves.
In France, it is very interesting to christen the plant - "a tree for 40 ecu". This name was given by the amateur botanist Petigny in 1780, who acquired five small trees of 25 guineas (40 ecu) each from an English gardener. From these trees came all the representatives of ginkgo in the territory of modern France.
History of a relic plant
Scientists believe that ginkgo is a descendant of ancient ferns. It arose presumably in the Late Permian, and by the middle of the Jurassic period reached its maximum diversity. In the Mesozoic era, plants of the ginkgo class spread widely throughout the Earth, there were 15 different genera. Deposits of leaves of this relict tree belonging to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods were found in the polar forests of Siberia.
The first mention is found in China, in poems of the XI century. In those days, in Japan and China, ginkgo was planted near sacred temples, and monks took care of them. In Tokyo, a tree grows in a botanical garden, the name of Hiraze, a Japanese botanist who studied this plant, is carved on a marble plaque next to it.
Ginkgo grows in Nagasaki, which is over 1,200 years old. In China, a specimen with a height of 45 meters was found, it is estimated that its age is about 2000 years.
The emblem with the bright green ginkgo leaf is a sign of Tokyo.
European scientists discovered this plant in 1690, before that they knew it and studied it only from the prints on the stones of ancient specimens. The first tree was planted in the Utrecht Botanical Garden in Holland. In 1754 it was brought to England, one of the trees grows today, according to it, scientists studied the features of fertilization.
The German poet Goethe dedicated his poem to Ginkgo:
This leaf was from the east
I am modestly brought into my garden,
And for the seer eye
The secret meaning is he.
The poet saw in an unusual form of leaves a symbol of friendship.
The tree came to America in 1784, the oldest instance growing in Philadelphia at the Forest Cemetery. It is taken under the supervision of specialists and is guarded.
Today, in the wild, the ginkgo tree grows in eastern China. It is believed that mountain forests in Northeast China are its homeland. On Mount Memusha, an entire ginkgo grove does not grow. In trees growing there, the trunk diameter reaches 2 m.
It is found in culture in the parks of Western Europe, in the cities of North America. In the wild state, here it does not grow from the Mesozoic era.
In Russia, ginkgo spreads as an ornamental plant. It can be found in the Caucasus, two trees grow in Kaliningrad at the entrance to the zoo.
In the Main Botanical Garden. N.V. A tree was introduced to Tsitsin RAN in 1946: from Potsdam (Germany) 3-year-old seedlings and seeds from Sukhumi, Pyatigorsk and from Korea.
Ginkgo - a beautiful decorative tree
Ginkgo grows to 40 meters. The diameter of the trunk reaches 4.5 m. The trunk is slender, brown-gray. With age, the bark becomes covered with deep wrinkles. The young tree has a pyramidal crown, then grows.
The leaves are unique: they are a bluish-green fan-shaped bilobate plate 5-8 cm wide. The sheet is slightly corrugated at the edges, attached to a thin petiole up to 10 cm long. Leaves quickly develop singly on long shoots, and on shortened ones slowly and in groups of 2-4.
The plant is dioecious. Male trees have spikelets in the form of earrings on which pollen develops. They are more slender, have a pyramidal crown shape. Female crown is more rounded and wider. On them grow two ovules on long legs. These processes occur at the age of 25-30, and only then can one determine the male or female tree. In late spring, wind pollination occurs. By autumn, pollinated ovules fertilize, ripen seeds and fall off. After the seeds fall, an embryo develops in them.
Seeds in shape resemble apricots, rounded, but have a burning-astringent taste, emit an unpleasant odor resembling rancid oil.
The peel of the seeds has 3 layers: the outer one is fleshy, amber-yellow; the middle layer is solid, has longitudinal ribs, inside is a thin paper-like layer. The kernel is edible, sweet in taste, in East Asia it is eaten.
In autumn, the leaves acquire beautiful yellow-golden tones, then fall off.
Ginkgo has a well-developed root system, so it is resistant to quite strong winds, calmly tolerates snow drifts. A tree can reach the age of 2500 years. Slow-growing, grows by 1-2 cm per year, very rarely by 4.
Medicinal properties of ginkgo
Ginkgozide compounds are isolated from the leaves, which are used in pharmaceuticals for the treatment of vascular diseases, multiple sclerosis, and atherosclerosis. Drugs help improve concentration and memory.
Unfortunately, ginkgozides were often used in bioactive additives, their uncontrolled use there led to allergic effects. The medical journals have actively discussed the effectiveness of ginkgo drugs, both critical and arguments in favor of drugs. Studies have also led to conflicting results. Therefore, the use of drugs should be carried out with the constant supervision of a doctor, and is contraindicated during breastfeeding and pregnancy.
There is an opinion that biological substances, which contain 40 in the plant, do not combine with other additives, and therefore cause a negative reaction. However, in general, ginkgo is an excellent antihistamine and diuretic, preparations from it expand the lumen in the arteries, capillaries and veins, reduce blood viscosity, thereby preventing the formation of blood clots. The substances contained in the plant help to stop the aging process, regulate the metabolism of carbon and increase the production of insulin and the energy potential of the body, preserve intelligence.
Oriental medicine uses Ginkgo Biloba in the treatment of diseases of the liver, lungs, bladder, alcohol addiction, to treat burns and wounds, and maintain healthy longevity.
Originality of Ginkgo breeding
The plant propagates in a unique way, like spore ferns, where fertilization occurs due to floating male cells. In other trees, male cells cannot move independently. It is because of this that ginkgo is a unique object of study of the evolution of plants.
The tree is propagated by seeds, root and stem cuttings. Seeds have a high germination rate when ripe, which is quickly lost, since they contain fatty acids in the endosperm.
A thousand seeds weigh 200 g. Cleaning the seeds from fleshy cover gives 75% weight loss. DachaDecor.ru advises cleaning in salted water, sow immediately after treatment. For 1 running meter sow 10-15 g of seeds to a depth of 3-5 cm. Seeds germinate after about 25 days. Ginko abundantly forms a shoot from the root. The transplant does not tolerate well, 2-3 years after transplantation does not grow.
Cuttings for planting are taken in late June and early July. Use short, non-lignified shoots and cut into cuttings, leaving some of last year's wood. Cuttings are freed from leaves, placed in a solution that stimulates root formation. Then it is recommended to plant in a film soil greenhouse with soil from a mixture of coarse sand and peat, perlite or other breathable loose material. Cuttings must be sprayed regularly. By autumn, plants form roots or callus. Cuttings for the winter should be covered with spruce branches. In the spring they quickly grow, so in April they must be planted. In the second year, all cuttings give rise to roots.
Ginkgo, planted with cuttings, develop much slower than seed, especially the first 1-3 years.
The tree is wind-resistant, tolerates low temperatures. Plants are planted in well-lit places, but it is desirable to protect young specimens from the hot sun, to shade them with light cloth or shields.
To the composition of the soil, the tree is undemanding, it is only necessary to moisten it constantly.
Ginkgo pests are unknown, only mice that gnaw the bark are dangerous. To prevent this, the base of the trunk is tied for winter with a burdock, roofing cloth or lapnik.
Ginkgo: growing and breeding (video)
According to legends, in ancient China in the north, ginkgo seeds were taken as tribute.
In areas favorable for the development of these trees, they are used as decorative groups, arranged against the background of evergreen conifers, for planting alleys, and also grown alone in lawns. Females are not suitable for landscaping, as the fruits produce an unpleasant odor when ripe, and when they fall off, they interfere with transport and pedestrians. Therefore, they usually use male trees or plant a male kidney on a young seedling.
Ginkgo as bonsai is grown in containers. To do this, a tree is specially grown, either with numerous fruits, or with aerial roots and beautiful golden leaves. For a bonsai tree, it is transplanted annually in spring when green leaves appear on the buds.
In Japan, peeled seeds are soaked in salt water, fried and eaten - the dish is considered an exquisite treat.
In cosmetology, Ginkgo produces creams for the face and hands, which prevent the formation of wrinkles, renew skin cells, remove peeling, irritation and remove the vascular venous network. Also, various hair care products and contributing to the treatment of cellulite are patented.