Ginkgo is a very pest-resistant tree. It has interesting, fan-shaped leaves that turn vivid yellow in fall. Only male trees should be purchased as the females produce messy fruit that have a potent odor.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median,
- Restricted sites
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil,
- Clay soil,
- Road salt
- Moderately Tolerant
- Moderately Tolerant
- Messy fruit/plant parts
- Fall color
Season of Interest:
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Tree & Plant Care
Relatively low maintenance.
Prune in spring.
Disease, pests, and problems
No serious pests.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Tolerates salt, heat, drought, alkaline soil.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to China.
Bark color and texture
The bark is typically light gray, with shallow ridges and furrows.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple,alternate, fan-shaped leaves in clusters of 3 to 5 on spurs or single on long shoots; usually notched at the tip; 2 to 3 inches long.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Inconspicuous, male and female flowers on separate trees (dioecious).
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Not a true fruit, but a seed with a fleshy covering; produced only on female trees; apricot colored with a silvery cast; messy and they produce a strong odor.
Buy male cultivars only.
Cultivars and their differences
There are numerous cultivars available. Here are some that are more commonly sold.
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.