Getting to Know the Ginkgo Tree

There is a fairly good chance that many people have heard of ginkgo extract. The extract is very good for brain function and to improve both memory and blood flow to the brain. The extract is commonly prescribed in a number of European countries. Fewer people know where the ginkgo extract comes from, though. This extract comes from a tree. More specifically, it comes from the maidenhair tree. Ginkgo biloba is the scientific name. It is also the only non-extinct species of an entire plant division known as Ginkgophyta. All other of the many species are long since extinct. These trees were once numerous throughout the world and the fossil record for the entire group goes back about 270 million years. Indeed, the entire division was at one time thought to be extinct, until a small grove of Ginkgo biloba was found in a remote and sheltered place in China, in the Zhejiang province. There is strong evidence that the grove had been carefully tended for many centuries by Chinese monks. The tree is now grown in many places, including Europe and the United States. Most often, they are grown as a decorative tree, though they aren’t small. Ginkgos, which should really be called ‘bilobas’ since that is the species name, commonly grow to 100 feet and there are specimens that stand over 160 feet (50 meters) tall. The tree isn’t orderly in growth like pines or firs. Rather, the branches almost seem haphazard. This is a deciduous tree and Continue Reading →

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