|Grid reference||ST 18537 79018|
|Common name||Maidenhair tree|
|Height||21M February 2015|
|Height||21M December 2018|
|Girth||290cm January 2015|
|Girth||299cm December 2018|
This tree is just north of the Conservatory, beside the footpath running east of the Rose Garden. It is one of the original plantings in the Botanic Garden, being listed in W.W.Pettigrew's article for the Cardiff Naturalists' Society (1894-5, volume XXVII part I, pages 52-62), as well as being described in the 1905 Guide to Roath Park. This Ginkgo biloba is a female tree which bears plum like fruit in autumn. It began to do so after the nearby male Ginkgo biloba pendula began to produce catkins.
Climbing up this tree to about 2/3rds of its height is a Rosa filipes 'Kiftsgate' (Kiftsgate Rose) planted in 1989. This produces white flowers in June/July.
General tree description
Ginkgo biloba is a medium-sized to large tree, growing up to around 28 metres, with a conical shape when young, which later becomes irregular. Its bark is grey-brown with a craggy texture. The leaves are on long stalks, fan-shaped, roughly 9cm long and 7cm broad, and dull green, turning bright yellow in autumn. The common name - Maidenhair tree - refers to the resemblance of the fan-shaped leaves to the Maidenhair fern. Ginkgo bilobas may be male or female. When fully mature (around 80 years old), the male tree has yellow catkins 2 to 4cm long. Females when mature have inconspicuous green flowers and after fertilisation develop yellow plum-like fruits in autumn. These have a very unpleasant odour and can cause skin irritation.
The Ginkgo biloba is said to be a "living fossil", meaning that it has similar characteristics to fossils from the Jurassic period, 150 to 200 million years ago, also the age of the dinosaurs. At that time the Gingko grew in many parts of the world including Europe and America. It is now native only in China.