Still Learning To See

Big and beautiful

Ginkgo biloba trees grow around the world. They are unique in that they also grew widely 170 million years ago. Until “recently”—mid-1800s—they were thought by Europeans to be extinct with the only fossils showing a record of their existence. When they were “discovered” in Central China, Ginkgo trees became all the rage and were widely planted.

Probably around 1880 one was planted on Barre Street in Montpelier where it continues to grow and enchant those who take the time to notice it. In the Fall, of course, it is undeniably present, typically showering the lawn beneath it with golden leaves, usually all in a morning. The trees are worth a few minutes of reading about as so much about them is unique (including their sex lives); the Barre Street tree is a male but the wind-blown pollen fertilized the only female in town which is four blocks away!

Recently a friend from the Vermont Extension Service met a group from the Montpelier Tree Board to make an official measurement of this old tree, both just to do so, and to see how it measures up against the Vermont’s biggest Ginkgo which grows in Bennington. The good news is we have a very large and healthy tree in our city. The other news? It is not quite the champion—the data for “our” tree is at the top and for the Champion, below:

We did not waste tears on this fact but instead celebrated a magnificent tree we hope will continue to grow and enchant many for another 100+ years. Anytime you are in our fair city, take time to stop by and give the tree a hug.

This entry was published on April 13, 2022 at 10:00 am. It’s filed under Fall colors, John Snell, John Snell Photographer, Leaves, Photograph, Trees, Vermont, and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Big and beautiful

  1. Dale Dailey on said:

    Great information on Ginkgo trees. Makes me appreciate the two adolescent Ginkgo trees that we have even more.

  2. nannus on said:

    Wonderful pictures, of a really impressive specimen!
    The rediscovery of these trees by Europeans must have happened a little bit earlier. J. W. v. Goethe wrote a poem about the tree in 1815, published in 1819 (actually a love poem where he takes the leaf that is one but divided into two as an allegory of love). According to Wikipedia, the tree that inspired the poem was planted in 1795.

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