Ginkgo biloba, known as ginkgo or gingko and also as the maidenhair tree, is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. It is recognizably similar to fossils dating back 270 million years. Native to China, the tree is widely cultivated and was introduced early to human history. It has various uses in traditional medicine and as a source of food. Ginkgos are large trees, normally reaching a height of 60-80 ft. During autumn, the leaves turn a bright yellow, then fall, sometimes within a short space of time (one to 15 days). A combination of resistance to disease, insect-resistant wood and the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts makes ginkgos long-lived, with some specimens claimed to be more than 2,500 years old.
The nuts are particularly esteemed in Asia, and are a traditional Chinese food. Ginkgo nuts are used in congee, and are often served at special occasions such as weddings and the Chinese New Year. In Chinese culture, they are believed to have health benefits; some also consider them to have aphrodisiac qualities. Trees are either male or female. Since these are unsexed seedlings it is recommended to plant 3 to get 1 of each sex unless others are growing nearby.