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Ginkgo biloba – Wikipedia

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**Botanical Characteristics:**
– Ginkgo biloba is a large tree, reaching heights of 20-35m.
– The leaves are fan-shaped and turn bright yellow in autumn.
– Ginkgo branches grow through the growth of shoots with regularly spaced leaves.
– Ginkgo is dioecious, with separate male and female trees.
– A draft genome of Ginkgo biloba was published by Chinese scientists.

**Evolution and Classification:**
– Ginkgo is considered a living fossil, with fossils dating back over 290 million years.
– Ginkgo is classified under Ginkgophyta, Ginkgoopsida, Ginkgoales, Ginkgoaceae.
– Ginkgo may have existed over an extremely wide range for many millions of years.
– Fossil Ginkgo favored disturbed environments, such as along streams.
– The closest living relatives of Ginkgo are the cycads.

**Historical Significance and Cultivation:**
– Ginkgo has been cultivated in China for centuries, with some trees believed to be over 1,500 years old.
– Male ginkgo trees are often preferred for cultivation due to not producing seeds.
– Ginkgo was first encountered by Europeans in Japan in 1690.
– Ginkgo is a common tree cultivated throughout eastern China, Korea, and Japan.
– Ginkgo cultivation has been widespread in North America and Europe for over 200-300 years.

**Notable Ginkgo Trees:**
– Six ginkgo trees in Hiroshima survived the 1945 atom bomb blast.
– An ancient ginkgo tree stands at Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gūs shrine in Kamakura, Japan.
– A 1,400-year-old ginkgo tree at Gu Guanyin in the Zhongnan Mountains is a popular tourist attraction.
– Ginkgo trees are considered part of the ‘hibakujumoku’ in Hiroshima.
– The ginkgo tree at Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gūs shrine is a significant historical and cultural symbol.

**Uses and Culinary Significance:**
– Ginkgo wood is utilized for furniture, chessboards, carving, and casks.
– Ginkgo seeds are used in various dishes in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisine.
– Consumption of Ginkgo seeds in large quantities may cause poisoning.
– Ginkgo seeds have culinary and cultural significance in Asian countries.
– Ginkgo seeds are esteemed in Asia and used in various dishes.

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