In America the ginkgo is often called the maidenhair tree. Its leaves are fan-shaped. Although the ginkgo is a distant relative of the pines and firs, it is not an evergreen. Its leaves turn yellow and fall off in the autumn.
The fruit of the ginkgo has an unpleasant smell. But the seed inside is good to eat.
This tree has lived on the earth for a very long time. The ginkgo trees we have now are almost exactly like their ancestors of ten million years ago.
Once the ginkgo had many close relatives. But they all disappeared. The ginkgo, too, would probably have disappeared if the Chinese and Japanese had not planted ginkgo trees in their temple gardens. They thought of these trees as sacred.
Ginkgoes are found in many cities. They are well liked partly because they have few insect enemies.