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Ginkgo biloba, Living Fossil

Ginkgo biloba, Living Fossil

C039/1011

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Credit

SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Ginkgo biloba by Louis Claude Marie Richard (September 17. June 6, 1821) a French botanist and botanical illustrator. Ginkgo is a genus of highly unusual non-flowering plants. The order to which it belongs, Ginkgoales, first appeared in the Permian, 270 million years ago, possibly derived from seed ferns of the order Peltaspermales. Almost all its species had become extinct by the end of the Pliocene; the exception is the sole living species, Ginkgo biloba, which is only found in the wild in China, but is cultivated across the world. The nut-like gametophytes inside the seeds are particularly esteemed in Asia, and are a traditional Chinese food. In Chinese culture, they are believed to have health benefits; some also consider them to have aphrodisiac qualities. Japanese cooks add ginkgo seeds and cooked seeds are often eaten along with other dishes.

Release details

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