Maidenhair Tree

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Bark of the maidenhair tree, Ginkgo biloba.
Image: GrrlScientist 2008 [larger view].

About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to Maidenhair Tree

  1. Ooh! One of my favourite trees!
    Which reminds me, I must get round to repotting my maidenhair this weekend, the poor thing needs to spread its roots a bit.

  2. djlactin says:

    I’m in korea, so this tree is very common around here. A couple of factoids. NOTHING attacks it; no bugs, no fungi, nothing.
    Although a gymnosperm, it produces a sort of fruit: when ripe, it’s about the size of a grape. It’s yellow and smells like vomit. The seed is edible; it looks like a small fava bean, and is quite tasty, although it causes constipation in moderate quantities (> about 6) and may be toxic at higher doses.
    Just me showing off….
    Derek Lactin

  3. interesting! i knew it smelled like vomit because it does that here in NYC, too. but i hadn’t thought that the seeds were edible, although that does make sense ..

  4. Sven DiMilo says:

    The species is dioecious, so only the female trees stink. The leaves of both sexes turn the most beautiful brilliant yellow in the fall, at least at my latitude.