Friday, October 16, 2009

Ginkgo: One of Fall's Most Glorious Trees

When I was at the Old Court House Museum this week taking pictures of the dogwood trees, I noticed a huge old Ginkgo Tree, also known as a "Maidenhair Tree." It's almost time for their leaves to start turning, and they are truly a sight to behold.

The Ginkgo is the world's oldest living species of tree and can live a long time, some up to a thousand years. In general, ginkgo trees will grow from about 80 to 100 feet tall, and here are a couple of large ginkgoes located in the Vicksburg National Military Park. I would love to know how old these trees are ...

You can tell some of the leaves are just beginning to turn on this one ...

I love the ginkgo leaves. They are fan-shaped, and will suddenly turn a pure, dazzling yellow in the fall, remaining for awhile on the tree, then suddenly dropping, virtually all at the same time. I can't wait to try to capture some pictures of the trees in Vicksburg, when they're at their peak. I say, "try," because it's not going to be easy task to catch them before the leaves fall.

This is a close up of some leaves that were turning on the tree at the courthouse (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like).

One of the reasons the tree at the courthouse caught my eye was because of the seed pods under it. They looked like little wrinkled up persimmons, soft and fleshy and "squishy," for lack of a better word, when I stepped on them taking pictures of the tree.

I had never seen the fruit of a ginkgo tree and, after "googling" them, I found out that the female trees produce the fruit-like pods, which are actually the seeds covered by the soft outer skin (the trees in the military park must be "guys," because they didn't have any fruit under them).

I thought it was neat, the way this little pod was perched on the root of the tree.

Of all the pictures I took that day at the courthouse, the next two are my favorites. This is a seed pod that had not fallen yet, and I love the raindrops clinging to it and the leaves around it.

If you would like to see my post featuring pictures I took of the dogwood trees at the courthouse, including close ups of their seed pods, click here: To Everything There is a Season: Dogwood.

I plan to write a follow-up post on the Ginkgos soon, after I get pictures of them when their leaves turn. Hopefully, it won't just be pictures of puddles of golden leaves beneath bare branches. But then, that's going to make some pretty pictures, too!


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Lovely, Janie!

My sister used to have a huge one in her yard in Charleston (she lived in the Annsonborough District), and I always loved the leaves. I had at one point a ginko shaped pin, and I don't know where it is now. They truly have the most wonderful leaves of any tree. They look like tiny fans to me.

Have a good weekend...


Sheila :-)

racheld said...

These are just lovely---I don't remember any ginko trees from when I lived down there, but we have a tiny one at the edge of the back garden.

We call it the $20.00 ginko---Caro's dear kind heart won't let her pass up any children with a cause, so when the Cub Scouts were selling the tiny sprigs at a table outside WalMart about five years ago, she bought one. She had only a twenty, and they had no change, so she said just keep it.

The little fellow was in a red Solo cup, and there he lived in the kitchen window for his first winter. He sprouted two little leaves in the Spring, never did get set out, and spent still another window-Winter.

He finally went into the ground at the edge of the vegetable garden, and had a big stake set beside him so the mowers wouldn't get him.

Every Winter since, he's had a BIG white bucket turned down over his one slim stick, to keep away the bitter cold, and now he has about two dozen leaves, which are a pretty golden color, like ladies' fancy parlor fans. He perseveres, and is much admired.

Tonja said...

I just love the shape of their unique! And, the golden yellow color is so pretty. Several years back, we were in NY during the fall and all the leaves had fallen off the ginkos in Central looked like a flimsy golden blanket on the ground. Thanks for stirring my memory!

nancygrayce said...

I do love the picture of the hanging seed pod! Quite a beautiful tree.

Beth at Aunties said...

I love all I learn and see on your blog! I believe this is the first Ginko tree I have seen and definitly at such an up and personal way. You captured it perfectly.

I also enjoyed Rached's account of the 20.00 dollar Gingo tree.:)
Their leaves are delicate and so pretty for such a large tree.
I am looking forward to the brillant yellow post ~ That is if you catch it on the right day! My hunch is that you will!:)


ForeverMe said...

Nice post Janie. I believe I've seen these before but can't remember where! I did see one online that is in China and is 2500 years old!! Imagine!

Merisi said...

Thank you for this beautiful tribute to the Ginkgo tree!
I love that tree, the rustling green leaves of spring and summer and the golden richness of autumn!

I remember reading somewhere that the fruits can create quite unpleasant odors, and that is the reason why gardeners usually chose a male tree.

The fruits do resemble wild persimmons quite a bit - I liked to look for them and eat them on walks along the Potomac river in Maryland. They tasted especially sweet after the nights had turned cooler.