Why Do Ginkgo Tree Berries Stink?

Ginkgo biloba, known as maidenhair tree, is an intriguing ornamental, deciduous tree for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. The tree is most often included with conifers, but its own botanical features make it a shrub that fits in with both conifers and ferns. The trees consist of the male and female trees, and it is the fruit of the female tree that produces an offensive scent.

Why Ginkgo Fruit Stinks

The female trees produce fruit in late fall. These fruits stink only when left on the ground to rot. The rotting fruit emits an odor that smells like vomit. The odorous fruit discharges butyric acid, which likewise gives rancid butter its horrible odor. The seeds contained inside the fruit are edible and also do not emit the putrid odor, because the odor comes from the fleshy outer layer, known as the sarcotesta. Male trees produce their flowers prior to the trees lose their leaves. All these catkins release their feces and drop off. Gingko trees are wind-pollinated.

Fruit Identification

The ripe fruits of the female ginkgo trees resemble little yellow plums. The fruit is all about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter and more long than wide. In the fruit is a big, creamy seed that’s harvested and used for food. These seeds are easy to germinate, in small pots or in a greenhouse. You can set out the little, youthful ginkgo trees until they become rootbound in the pots.

Ginkgo Trees

Ginkgo trees can grow 70 to 80 feet tall, but the vast majority of trees more often reach 35 to 50 feet. The tree width is usually one-half to two-thirds the tree height, and the tree has an umbrella form. The fan-shaped leaves resemble the leaf of maidenhair ferns, which is where the tree receives its name. The foliage turns a golden-yellow in fall and generally remains on the tree for a while before all falling at once, making a gold carpet on the ground.

Why Grow Ginkgos

Many people grow ginkgo trees for their ornamental value. The trees are also easy to grow, needing only a sunny place with well-drained dirt. The trees grow well in the the country and the city. Ginkgo tree are virtually pest- and also disease-free. They bear heat, air pollution, acidic soils and alkaline soils as well as being resistant to oak root fungus. When growing female trees, then you can help reduce the odor by cleaning up the fallen fruit before it starts to rot.

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