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Featured Plant Of The Month

There is always something in bloom at the Arboretum! Use our Plants Library to plan a photo shoot or to choose one of the trails to walk. Learn more about the plants at the Arboretum by visiting our Previously Featured Plants list and our Special Seasonal Featured Plants page.


Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

Ginkgo Trees Ginkgo (or Maidenhair Tree) puts on its spectacular fall display toward the end of October or early November. For a short period its leaves turn bright yellow, and then almost overnight, they fall to the ground creating a conspicuous leaf shadow under the tree’s spreading branches. Ginkgo’s fan-shaped leaves resemble those of Maidenhair Fern (hence its common name) and have dichotomous (forked) venation.

Ginkgo is a Gymnosperm (naked seed) — its developing ovules and seeds are not enclosed in an ovary. It is dioecious (i.e., meaning two houses) with separate male and female trees. The male trees are most commonly planted because the female trees produce fruits with a strong, unpleasant odor. Two well-developed male Ginkgo trees are found across the Arboretum entrance road from the Visitors’ Center, and another is located near the end of Marsh Road as it turns up to the Forest Loop Roads. Several female trees can be seen just below the new Auditorium.

Ginkgo Leaves Ginkgo is well-represented in the fossil record. For thousands of years it only survived in temple gardens in China, and no wild populations are known to exist. The tree is often referred to as a living fossil. Ginkgo is a hardy tree that is planted in many parts of the U.S. and other countries. Extracts from Ginkgo leaves have long been used for treating blood disorders and memory issues.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: UTforest@utk.edu