Iowa State University Ginkgo

Regular readers may remember this ginkgo is from fruit collected in 1997 under a grove of ginkgo trees near my main college building at ISU, MacKay Hall. I managed to get 7 of 11 seeds to germinate. 4 remain; 2 in IA, 1 in NJ, and this one in AL.


This is the tree that now resides in Jersey:

Here is one of the Iowa seedlings:

Interesting how variable each seedling was.

In September ’15, we returned to Iowa for a brief visit, and walked through the ISU campus; where my wife and I both graduated. With over 950 different varieties of mature trees, the campus is a beautiful setting to stroll through. Easily stated now, but not as noticeable when you’re lugging a ton of books, racing across campus to make the next class, while snow is getting in your boots, and your eyelashes are freezing together.


One portion of the campus I’d been eager to revisit was the grove of four ginkgo trees that provided the seed for these bonsai trees nearly 18 years ago. Now, easily 120 years old, the mature and stately grove did not disappoint.


Characteristic upright branches emerging from a main trunk:




Nice, mature fissured bark:



and it’s interesting to see the red color of the callus tissue on both the planted tree:

And the potted tree:


Finally, only one of the four in the grove bore fruit (front left, three photos up), so it was suddenly obvious which tree was the source of the seedlings! Pretty for the moment, but the 1.5″ fruits take on a pinkish tint, and as they drop and begin to rot, the smell is vile. Judging by this year’s prolific crop, 1000 miles might be just far enough away to avoid the stench!



My buddy up there said, I wish you had collected 100 of these back then. I could handle looking at 100 of these:




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