November 7, 2022 /
Christina Hester

Wake Up and Smell the Ginkgos!

It’s happening! Ginkgo Trees are dropping their leaves all over the District – a throwback to prehistoric times, the ginkgo is a beautiful shade tree with unique fan-shaped leaves that turn a beautiful yellow in fall and distinctly furrowed corky bark that is gray-white in color. This tough urban tree is able to withstand varied conditions and stresses.  

Once found globally before the Ice Ages, the species was considered extinct until cultivated in Asia for its medicinal and ornamental properties. Touching on the remedial properties – the leaves and seeds can be used to ease symptoms of everything from memory loss to dietary problems to asthma.. Even today, Ginkgo Biloba is sold as an over-the-counter herbal supplement used to treat multiple ailments.  

Although individuals and agencies often only plant male varieties to avoid the unpleasant smells associated with rotting ginkgo fruits, there are actually examples of individual branches on ginkgo trees changing sex from male to female. So, even if you try to avoid the sweet, stinky aroma that radiates off Ginkgo fruit – the genderfluid tree may decide on its own!