Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Living Fossil



When the sun comes up over the hill, the first thing that lights up is the ginkgo tree. In autumn, it is bright yellow, of course, but currently, a chartreuse green that really pops against the blue sky. The striking fan shaped leaves are unique among seed plants and their design has inspired artists over thousands of years. Birds love it in all seasons, leaves or not, and it's branches beckon hummingbirds, sparrows, mockingbirds, and doves. This species was first seen by Westerners in 1690 and has been cultivated in North America for 200 years. In China, some individual trees are said to be 2,500 years old. The ginkgo biloba is known as a "living fossil" and is believed to have survived in the Northern Hemisphere unchanged for 270 million years.

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