....Ginkgo biloba, I had the first double take I've done in awhile.
To the right not pictured is a really thin, straggly female ginko that struggles for light among all the trees of the urban forest. A bunch of women from the neighborhood usually come by the park in the fall and collect all of the really terrible smelling fruits. But.. I guess we kept them from trampling the rest of the plants a bit too well this year. There could have been a total Ginkgo forest nestled in the Lirope.
So why is this kinda interesting?
Ginkgos are considered to be a living fossil. They used to be native to Asia, Europe and North America before they vanished for almost 5 million years. Eventually a small colony was found in China, being cared for by monks up in the mountains. They have both male and female plants. The females do not produce seeds, but rather naked ovules that are pollinated by male cones. This makes them closer to pines than flowering plants.
People love these plants. Their leaves have a very distinct two lobed rounded shape. Leaves form on side spurs that branch off of straight leggy branches. They also turn the clearest yellow in the fall.
I didn't find any other patches of these seedlings in the park. Still- it took a long time to pull these all out.