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I thought you would be interested in this article from environment: YALE magazine, the Journal of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Dean Peter Crane
When I was at Kew Gardens, I had a particular affection for a stately Ginkgo biloba tree that had been brought there in 1762—one of the very first ginkgos to be grown outside of eastern Asia. I admired that tree not only for its muscular beauty, but for its tenacity. It stands today over 100 feet tall, its angular crown, long erratic branches and fan-like leaves lording over the grounds, its deep green leaves turning a beautiful lemon yellow in autumn. Spectacular. That venerable ginkgo differed little from similar trees that grew more than 150 million years ago during the Jurassic period. Groves of ancient ginkgos that inhabited the world of dinosaurs and the very earliest birds would have been almost indistinguishable from similar ones planted today all over the world, from Central Park to the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Ginkgo, also known as the Maidenhair Tree, almost died out in the climatic extremes of the last glaciation, but it still survives in scattered, remnant populations in central China. For at least the last 500 years, ginkgo has been planted in China, Japan and Korea, especially in association with Buddhist temples, and has persisted through countless catastrophes in the long history of its lineage. It is a botanical survivor. Individual trees are also incredibly resilient, thriving in tough urban environments. One even withstood Hiroshima, just a mile from the blast’s epicenter.
As an evolutionary…
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