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This genus is the only survivor of a family of deciduous conifers which were a mainstay of the primitive forests which covered a large part of the earth's surface 160 million years ago. Extracts of Gingko trees are increasingly used in the preparation of herbal medicines and Ginkgo are often planted by the entrance to Chinese homes or gardens for good fortune.
The common name of maidenhair tree derives from the similarity of the leaf shape to the pinnules of the maidenhair fern. Suitable for most situations and any fertile, well drained soil although generally growing with most vigour when planted in a sunny position.