Ginkgo, also referred to as Ginkgo biloba and the Maidenhair Tree, is a very unique deciduous tree that is thought to have no living relatives. Described by Charles Darwin as a living fossils, Ginkgo trees have been around for over 250 million years – that means they were around in the same state when dinosaurs roamed the earth!
Being native to China, Ginkgo has been saved from extinction by the cultural significance the Chinese people have placed on the tree. The trees themselves are often planted around temples, whilst the nuts of the tree are used in traditional Chinese medicine, and the leaves in modern practices.
The tree itself can grow up to 50 meters tall, although it is more common for their growth to peak at around 35 meters. It has an almost bizarre appearance, as the branches grow in very erratic patterns, making it often look patchy and asymmetrical.
It is the leaves that are of most interest, as recent scientific investigation has shown the chemical compounds within them contain valuable neuro-protective properties, as well as improving circulatory function.