Sunday, October 21, 2018

My Dad's Ginkgo biloba tree at 20 years of age. 10.21.18

Male Ginkgo biloba, grown from seed,, at 20 years old.  10.21.18
 This tree has grown into a magnificent specimen.  There is more risk planting a seedling ginkgo tree in town, because people don't like the stinky seed coats and cut them down.  That's a shame.  fortunately, this tree has proven itself to be a male, based on my observation of the flower catkins over the past few years.

Some day, we expect to sell the old place.  Anticipating that, a few years ago I cut grafting scion from lower twigs of this tree, and grafted them to rootstocks grown from locally collected seeds.  Of those, 2 took but only one survived planting.  I'll sho that later.  That tree has taken hold and is now about 5 feet tall.   Along way to go before it is this magestic, but a hopeful development.

I'll intend to post photos of the other ginkgo trees later.  This is the best of the lot.  My dad collected the seeds in his neighborhood in Quincy, Illinois, and gave me the seeds.  I sprouted those in flowerpots and when I moved to Vancouver, WA, three of those seedlings moved with me.  One of the others is at our country place in Battle Ground, WA, and the other did not survive transplanting there.
Same tree at about 8 years old. 


  1. Read an article on Slate "Why do we keep planting stinky ginkgos" which says: "It turns out the ginkgo, like some species of fish, can spontaneously change sex. This evolutionary adaptation allows ginkgoes to propagate when the sex ratio is imbalanced. This means even planting a male ginkgo does not guarantee that it won’t start to stink 30 years down the line."

    My grandfather was born and raised in Quincy before settling our family in the PNW in the 1930's. His father managed a dealership for Singer sewing machines (peddle-tread) in Quincy at the turn of the century. I would never have left the PNW before meeting my wife online who lived in N. Central IL and moving to Princeton in '99. After retiring, we came back to Sequim in '14.

    It was at Lake Bloomington the fall of '96 I proposed to her, in a field with several striking yellow Ginkgo trees. Those trees have always been most prominent in that memory and until reading your post, I have not known what they were.

    Another abundant tree there produced long leathery red seed pods. I haven't seen them anywhere else but in N. IL.

  2. Thank you for the info! Really interesting. I also appreciate the Quincy connection.