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Ginkgo or Maidenhair Tree

Ginkgo or Maidenhair TreeThe Ginkgo or Maidenhair Tree (Salisburia adiantifolia), of Japan and China, is a tree whose botanical affinities seem to be with the conifers on one side and the ferns on the other. The leaves are fan-shaped, usually cleft with one deep suture to the petiole. The venation is the strange character. Unbranched veins extend in radiating lines to the upper border of the fan, just as in the leaf of maidenhair fern. The texture is leathery, and the leaves an- fascicled on the ends of very short side twigs. Bright yellow green in summer, they turn to gold, and fall in the autumn.

The ginkgo is a narrow, tapering tree when young, very trim and pretty, widening to pyramidal form with years. It grows rapidly and has been planted as a street tree, notably in Washington, D. C. A serious drawback appears in the fruit, which is a soft, plum-like, oily drupe with an unpleasant odour. While they are dropping they keep sidewalks in a bad state, disgusting people with the tree. The ginkgo has had a great vogue among planters, though until recently none have been old enough to bear fruit.

The Chinese esteem the pits a great delicacy. They roast the nuts as we do almonds and use them as a confection or an appetiser at dinners and banquets.