Friday, June 16, 2006

Charlie and his Ginkgo tree

This ginkgo tree was started from a seed in about 1999 in a flower pot in Chicago. The parent tree was shown to me 40 years ago in Quincy Illinois, by Herman Deege, a former German refugee from WWI. He told me that ginkgos were the most ancient type of tree. They occur as separate male and female. Fossil ginkgo leaves, fruits, and wood, are found around the world, including in Washington State. The seeds are used in certain Chinese foods. The leaves are used in herbal products tom improve memory. After the glaciers from the ice ages receeded, ginkgos were once limited in range to a small area in China, but there are some trees, hundreds (maybe over 1000) of years old, in Korea and Japan.

This particular tree traveled 2000 miles in a small flowerpot, 5 years ago, from Chicago to Vancouver, Washington. It was planted in its present location in 2003, where it has flourished. The dogs use the area around it as their special 'bioremediation' area, so it may be overnourished, but it hasnt seemed to mind, and is reaching a size where it should become more resilient to the world's insults.

Maybe it will have a long life. Trees remove CO2 from the air, storing it in their wood cellulose - so the more that we plant, and the fewer that we cut down, the better they will take care of us in return.

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