May 24, 2019

Caroline’s Garden Diaries 17.9.2014: Dining under ginkgos

Thinking about ginkgo trees again – must be in September in Spain. Excitement yesterday; eating lunch in nice little square that I remember from last year because of the beautiful ginkgos, when suddenly I realized that one nearest to me had fruit on it. I’ve never seen the fruit before, only read that they smell appalling and that the name “ginkgo” is from “silver apricot” in Chinese where the trees originate.
Rush to Wikipedia to learn more about them – well, not immediately, have first to finish lunch, then have siesta and then more beer and tapas and then bed, so actually it’s only this morning when I can follow-up. I did smell a fallen fruit on way home and it wasn’t nice; Wikipedia says “rancid butter”, but it’s not so bad that people avoid the square – just as well because the nice restaurant has had to move there from a more expensive place.
I described the Ginkgo last year as a survivor, referring to its presence in fossils for 270 million years, but it also survives in the present – there are trees alive known to be more than 1500 years old, and amazingly, there are six that survived Hiroshima that are still growing healthily. Apparently ginkgo likes a “disturbed environment” but an atom bomb? That’s pushing it.
So indeed a hot Spanish town square is nothing to this living dinosaur, but I wonder why it doesn’t seem to like Yorkshire – the one at the Arboretum is struggling, maybe too tranquil there?


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