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Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Wed Nov 19 09:06:25 EST 1997

At 8:58 PM -0500 11/18/97, CHRISTINA ADAMS wrote:
>hi, does anyone have any information on the ginkgo tree?  I am curious
>about any aspect of it.  Also, i heard that it produces sperm in order to
>reproduce.  If anyone has any information regarding this, it would be
>helpful.  Thanks!

Hi Christina!

Indeed Ginkgo is a wonderful plant.  A gymnosperm with
broad leaves...and winter hardy to boot.  It thrives
in urban pollution.  Its fan-shaped leaves turn bright
yellow in the autumn and drop almost in unison...a
glorious event if you are lucky to see it.  The male
trees indeed produce wind-carried pollen.  The female
trees produce large ovules.  All true plants produce
both egg and sperm...ginkgo is no exception.  The ovules
after pollination fall to the ground and syngamy occurs
on the ground.  The embryo overwinters and matures inside
the ovule.  The seeds germinate in the spring/early summer.
The ovules do produce butyric acid after they fall.  That
acid has a disagreeable odor (rotted milk?)...so many
nurseries will only sell you a male...many cannot supply
a female even upon request.  I fear that except on college
campuses there will be no female ginkgo trees on the planet.


Ross Koning                 | koning at ecsu.ctstateu.edu
Biology Department          | http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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