Thursday, November 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday - The Dilemma of the Ginkgo

They lie there so innocently...but beware.

In 2013, I blogged about the ginkgo tree.  Its yellow fall colored, fan shaped leaves make for an incredible color display.  But then, there are the fruits that fall. 

2014, when the leaves fell late
Here a young ginkgo tree glows in an early November sunrise in downtown Binghamton, New York.

But there is one problem with these lovely trees.  It's a good thing there is no such thing as smell-o-blog, as you might be exiting this blog at full speed if you were able to sniff the first picture above.

You see, there is something about ginkgoes, as I blogged about two years ago.   Something a bit...well, read the post and see.

The Dilemma of the Ginkgo
Last year, some streets in downtown Binghamton, New York were rebuilt and re landscaped. This spring, I noticed that some of the young trees planted were ginkgos.

Ginkgoes are not extremely popular here in Binghamton.  I see more of the trees up in Ithaca, and I saw a good number in Iowa City when I used to visit my late aunt.  This was back in the 1980's and 1990's and I can remember them on the University of Iowa campus.  I've also seen them in New York City.

The ginkgo tree is also called the Maidenhair tree.  It is an almost indestructible tree.  In Japan they are known as the "bearer of hope" as a number of them survived the 1945 atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. One of the surviving trees is some 200 years old.
The leaves turn a lovely yellow in the fall, too.  But before you rush out to buy this wonderful tree, there is something you should know.

The females produce a seed, surrounded by a pulp.  Fortunately, there is no such thing as "smell o blog" because you would be gagging just about now.  Some people say the smell resembles the smell of vomit.  Others say dog poo.  I tend towards the dog poo camp.

That patch of fallen leaves on the West Side of Binghamton, to be accurate, reeks.

This is what the offending (bare) tree looked like in early November, the offending fruits barely visible.

Yes, dear readers, this is the same Gingko Biloba that some claim enhances your memory, and may have other medicinal qualities.

Many cities were playing it safe by permitting only male trees.  But nature has a way, folks (as anyone who has seen the movie Jurassic Park knows), and it would seem that some of those male trees are now - well, they aren't males any more.

And these cities who planted these wonder trees now wonder what to do.

I wonder if the tree I photographed on the West Side of Binghamton started its life as a male.

Will the City of Binghamton have to face that dilemma in a few year when those small downtown trees mature and perhaps....well, stink?

Have you had this problem where you live?

Today is day 19 of NaBloPoMo.


  1. Oh that is so weird!!!!! I never even thought about the GENDER of trees! BAH HA! Man, I am simple minded!

    And I am actually curious to smell this tree, but I can imagine it not being pleasant!

  2. Lovely. There's a plant that flowers once every several years. (Sorry, don't remember how often.) That flower--I'm told it smells like a rotting corpse. Never been close enough to smell one, but when it flowers (there's one at a university nearby or something) it makes the local news. And people go out to see it. And smell it, apparently. Because, a fun day trip is all about the awful smelling plant.

  3. Hmm, perhaps we should call it Kaitlyn.

  4. yikes, I have actually studied about the gingko as part of its medicinal properties but did not know this tidbit... and now that I do, don't see myself going anywhere near it!! :D

  5. Gosh! I never knew this. Thank you for sharing and yes, it would be hard to go any where near the tree.


Your comments sustain me, as long as they are civil, are on topic, and do not contain profanity, advertising of any kind, links or spam. Any messages not meeting these criteria will immediately be composted, and my flowers will enjoy their contents.