Prehistoric Earth Wiki

Modern ginkgo leaves

Ginkgo is a genus of non-flowering tree. Only one species, Ginkgo biloba, remains alive today.


Ginkgos have fan-shaped leaves, unique among seed plants. G. biloba grows 20 to 35 meters in height.


Recent analysis shows that ginkgos are most closely related to cycads.[1] However, they are still in different class levels.


Recognizable ginkgos first appeared in the Permian period,about 270 million years ago. Several different species evolved, and they thrived throughout the Mesozoic era. By the end of the Pliocene, however, only one species remained, surviving in China. The species is now commonly cultivated,[2] and is used in food and as medicine.[3]


  1. Chung-Shien Wu, Shu-Miaw Chaw & Ya-Yi Huang (2013). "Chloroplast phylogenomics indicates that Ginkgo biloba is sister to cycads". Genome Biology and Evolution 5 (1): 243–254. doi:10.1093/gbe/evt001. PMID 23315384.
  2. Gilman, Edward F. and Dennis G. Watson (1993). "Ginkgo biloba 'Autumn Gold'" (PDF). US Forest Service. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  3. Fehske, Christian J.; Leuner, Kristina; Müller, Walter E. (2009). "Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb761®) influences monoaminergic neurotransmission via inhibition of NE uptake, but not MAO activity after chronic treatment". Pharmacological Research 60 (1): 68–73. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2009.02.012. PMID 19427589.