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GINKGO BILOBA: History

The Ginkgo biloba is the world's oldest living tree, a species whose existence can be traced back-over 250 million years! For this reason, the Ginkgo was referred to as living fossil (1859) by Charles Darwin. It appeared at Carboniferous. During the  Jurassic,  Ginkgo trees were common and widespread in Asia, Europe and America. Ginkgo survived many crises, in particular at the end of the cretaceous where the dinosaurs disappeared. But Ginkgos disappeared from America about 7 million years ago, and from Europe about 3 million years ago.

Ginkgoaceae belong to the class of the Ginkgophytes. This class constituted the link between the ferns and the angiosperms ( flowering plants ).

The last survivor Ginkgos have taken refuge in the south-east of China. The buddhist monks venerated it, and undoubtedly them its survival is owed. Regarded as guard to entreat fire, it was planted near the pagodas, in the imperial gardens in China, wood crowned of the temples.

Links for Paleobotanists on www.uni-wuerzburg.de/mineralogie

 

 

In the late 17th century, Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716) , a German botanist, has become known as the first European to discover and categorize the Ginkgo biloba. He lived in Japan from 1690 till 1692 and described the Ginkgo tree in his book Amoenitatum exoticarum (1712). See engelbert kaempfer forum on www.rc.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~michel

The oldest European ginkgo would have been sown in 1730 in the Utrecht Botanical Garden. In 1762, Ginkgo was cultivated in Kew Botanical Garden (London). 

The oldest French ginkgo was sown in Montpellier in 1778.  A rich person ship-owner of Montpellier could acquire a foot of Ginkgo, in England, for the extravagant sum of forty ecus. This is why, one of its vernacular names is: Tree with the forty ecus ( arbre aux quarante écus ). 

Ginkgo biloba was first brought into the United States by William Hamilton for his garden in Philadelphia in 1784.  It was a favorite tree of Architect Frank Lloyd Wright and made its way into city landscapes across North America.

  After the Hiroshima bomb (6.8.1945), all the flora was destroyed. Nothing grew again in calcined ground. However, in spring, one regrowth spouted out: that of an old Ginkgo that had flamed. The growth was respected and encouraged. Therefore, a Ginkgo tree remains in relative  healthy condition today in the temple named Hosenji located about 1 Km away from the blast center of the atomic bombing. The survival of the ginkgo is surely due to a natural immunity or a genetic advantage. It has a great resistance to the mutagen agents like the radiations. ( Photos on www.huis.hiroshima-u.ac.jp )

 

  More informations about Ginkgo tree....

101 Ginkgo biloba Ginkgo Extract Where to see ?
Ginkgo in France My Photos Gallery Ginkgo design