The Ginkgo biloba tree (Maidenhair) is a slow growing, odd looking tree with branches that are covered in small, lobed leaves. They prefer well drained, acidic soil and are suitable for inner city planting.
Ginkgo biloba trees can reach a height of about 40 metres with a trunk ten metres in diameter if they are grown in an open space, but that will take a few hundred years.
Ginkgo biloba leaves emerge from very short stalks all along the branches, are usually bi-lobed, a bit like moth wings. The leaves turn a charming range of warm yellows and golds in Autumn while female trees carry clusters of pale green, spherical seeds.
Sometimes misspelled Gingko, these unique trees the sole survivors of the Ginkgo family, which is the oldest extant tree species on earth, going back at least 270 million years. Despite its leaf shape, ginkgo is a conifer, although you would never guess.
These trees are extremely hardy. They resist disease and insect attack, they are happy on polluted roadsides, they survived at least two ice ages and can even withstand an atomic blast; there are a number of large Ginkgo trees less than a mile from the Hiroshima epicentre to prove it.