Common Name: ginkgo

Scientific Name: 
Genus: Ginkgo
Species: G. biloba

Hardiness Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 50 to 80 ft 
Width: 30 to 40 ft


Common characteristics:

Ginkgo is considered to be a living fossil due to its long genetic presence. ​​These trees are also more closely related to conifers than deciduous trees which can be seen when looking at their conical form. The bark is typically light gray, with shallow ridges and furrows with a slight corky feel to it. Leaves are simple and grow alternately on the stem, they are fan-shaped and grow in clusters of 3 to 5 on spurs or single on long shoots. Its fruit is not a true fruit, but a seed with a fleshy covering that is produced only on female trees. The fruit is apricot-colored with a silvery cast. The odor that is produced from the fruit is strong and unpleasant. The seeds are actually edible once the fleshy covering is removed and are considered a delicacy in eastern countries.

Where it grows:

Prefers moist, well-drained soils. It is tolerant of dry sights with occasional droughts, alkaline and clay soils. This tree is very tolerant of road salts and the urban landscape. 

How it’s used:

The ginkgo makes for an excellent shade tree in your yard or parks. It is also suitable to use in the boulevard due to its resistance to road salts and urban pollution. Ginkgos require very little pruning once established. 

Where it is native to:

The Ginkgo is native to China. It has been well adapted to the urban landscape of Minnesota.  

Known Varieties and Their Traits:

Autumn Gold ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba ‘Autumn Gold’):  non-fruiting male with uniform conical habit becoming broader with age.  Outstanding yellow color in autumn.

Emperor™ ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba Woodstock'): non-fruiting male with upright-oval shape and a strong central leader; 50 feet high and 40 feet wide. This is a Chicagoland Grows™ introduction.

Golden Colonade® ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba 'JFS-UGA2'):  non-fruiting male with a strong central leader and narrow-oval form; 45 feet high and 25 feet wide.

Jade Butterfly ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba 'Jade Butterfly'):  A dwarf cultivar (12 to 15 feet high) with leaves in dense clusters; non-fruiting male.

Magyar ginkgo  (Ginkgo biloba ‘Magyar’):  narrow, non-fruiting male with upright, ascending branching.

Mariken ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba 'Mariken'): A dwarf cultivar, growing 3 to 4 feet high and wide; non-fruiting male.

Presidential Gold® ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba 'The President'):  non-fruiting male with a dense upright form and strong central leader; 50 feet high and 40 feet wide.

Princeton Sentry ginkgo  (Ginkgo biloba ‘Princeton Sentry’):   non-fruiting male form; assumes an upright, nearly columnar form that tapers to a point.

Sky Tower ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba 'JN9'):  A narrow, compact cultivar (15 to 20 feet high and 6 to 10 feet wide); non-fruiting male.

Windover Gold ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba 'Windover Gold'): non-fruiting male with a broad, pyramidal form.


No serious insect or disease problems. Usually slow-growing, especially in its early years. Female trees produce messy seeds. 


Missouri Botanical Garden

The Morton Arboretum

ginkgo form
ginkgo bark
Ginkgo fruit and foliage
ginkgo bud