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ntroduced Photo: Tabish
Common name: Ginkgo, Maidenhair Tree • Nepali: बाल कुमारी Bal kumari
Botanical name: Ginkgo biloba    Family: Ginkgoaceae (Ginkgo family)

The Ginkgo is a unique tree with no close living relatives. It is one of the best known examples of a living fossil, because Ginkgoales are not known from the fossil record after the Pliocene age. For centuries it was thought to be extinct in the wild, but is now grown in many places. Ginkgos are very large trees, normally reaching a height of 20–35 m, with some specimens in China being over 50 m. The tree has an angular crown and long, somewhat erratic branches, and is usually deep rooted and resistant to wind and snow damage. Young trees are often tall and slender, and sparsely branched; the crown becomes broader as the tree ages. During autumn, the leaves turn a bright yellow, then fall, sometimes within a short space of time (1–15 days). A combination of resistance to disease, insect-resistant wood and the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts makes ginkgos very long-lived, with some specimens claimed to be more than 2,500 years old: A 3,000 year-old ginkgo has been reported in Shandong province in China. The leaves are unique among seed plants, being fan-shaped with veins radiating out into the leaf blade, sometimes splitting. Ginkgos are dioecious, with separate sexes, some trees being female and others being male. Male plants produce small pollen cones with sporophylls each bearing two microsporangia spirally arranged around a central axis.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Company Garden, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.
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