Field of Science

Real ginkgo forests

Ginkgoes and ginkgophytes (ginkgo like plants) have been around for a long time, 275 million years or so dating back to the Permian.  Presently a single species, Ginkgo biloba, is all that is left, but far from nearing extinction, its ornamental value has redistributed this species around the world.  All of these ginkgo trees are descendants of offspring from some sacred groves of trees protected by monastaries in China, and botanists have speculated for some time about whether ginkgo actually still exists in the wild or whether it persists just as a cultivated plant.  A report in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Botany (August, 2012, v. 99(8): 1408–1414.) has determined that a glacial refugium in the Dalou Mountains harbors natural fragments of ginkgo forest.  The composition of these forests finds that the same plants are still growing with ginkgo as found in the fossil record.  The image is of an 878 year old tree bearing some red feng shui flags for good fortune.  The oldest ginkgo in North America is in Bartram's GardenHow cool is that?  Maybe next they'll find Glossopteris alive. 

No comments: