Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

An endangered fossil tree

The ginkgo developed more than 200 million years and is thus one of the oldest plant species in the world. It is called a living fossil. Even though the ginkgo is a common ornamental tree everywhere in the world, it is endangered in its natural habitat in China. Its popularity as a Buddhist temple tree may have saved the species from extinction.

The individuals grown as ornamental trees are exclusively male. This is because the female ginkgo produces seeds which smell like rancid butter.  

In Finland, ginkgo trees can be grown in the south-western corner, meaning the Åland Islands and the sector reaching from Helsinki to Rauma. The Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden has successfully grown ginkgos for decades. 

 The leaves are fan-shaped with veins radiating out into the leaf blade.
Finland’s oldest ginkgo tree (on the left) grows in the Evolution garden in Kaisaniemi botanic garden. It was probably planted in the 1940s, but may be even older. It has been growing in open ground since 1996.
Finland’s oldest ginkgo.