I never really considered trees in quite the same light as flowers and flowering shrubs. They just never held the same attraction. I mean, I knew the names of the trees that grew in our yard and nearby woods. I understood the importance of trees giving us shade and helping to keep the house cooler in the summer; while the pine trees protected us from winter winds. They were homes for all sorts of critters and birds and I always gathered the colored leaves every fall and ironed them between two pieces of wax paper to preserve them. In science we learned of the importance of trees to our environment in providing oxygen to our planet. Still, trees were mainly used for climbing and didn’t make a great impression on me for anything else.
I feel differently now. Every now and then I’ll stumble upon a species that is unusual enough to catch my interest. That is how I discovered the Ginkgo Biloba. A few years ago, I switched positions at work and moved from a branch library back to the main downtown library. One of the small trees along the street was a Ginkgo biloba tree and I immediately fell in love. My attraction comes from the fact that it looks so different from all the other trees.
It’s a young tree, still looking gawky and awkward; I look forward to see it growing older and filling out. I love the fan-shaped leaves that flutter in the breeze and their beautiful butter yellow in the fall when they change color. From what I was able to find out, Gingkos, called “living fossils” can be traced back over 200 million years. Fossils have been found with the impression of Gingko leaves on them. Trees were once located throughout North America and Europe but were destroyed by the Ice Age, only surviving in China. Ohio University has an excellent informational website at http://www.hcs.ohio-state.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/gi_iloba.html .