|Many very mature gingko fruit pile up at the base of the tree. (11/3/13)|
|The gingko in fall; note the fruits swept|
off the driveway to avoid bruising...
and smelling. (11/3/13)
This conclusion was not confirmed by checking under its leaves. According to one website, “…female trees will bear yellowish plum-shaped fruit with a somewhat foul smelling meat (like rancid butter some say) whose outer skin is mildly toxic. Fallen fruits will usually burst open their fleshy coating, thus releasing the odor. In an outdoor setting, the smell is not too overpowering, but avoid planting near car ports or along roads as some people have reported paint damage from the fruits juices…” Stupendous!
Even after 10+ years living in our home, it does not surprise me is that the previous owners would plant such tree especially given its unique (albeit noxious) nature. When we first moved in, every room was a different shade of grey (including the exterior), and because they had been recreational bonsaists(?), shelves cobbled together with cinder blocks and boards were a central component of the garden. And guess what... the ginkgo tree is a favorite of Bonsai enthusiasts, but they usually know it as the Maidenhair Tree, as the small, bonsai trained leaves turn to a striking gold hue in the Fall.
Because ginkgo's will take about 20 years of growth before they start to reproduce, we can deduce that the tree has been here for at least two decades, and being the first time in our four years here that the fruits have appeared, we had not previously noticed the scent. Where we go from here is unclear, and while the fruit can be harvested and the nuts removed from the pungent smelling meat of the fruit roasted for eating, given the height of the tree, and my cowardice in the face of scaling it, this is unlikely. In some ways it is neat to have such an ususal tree (one landscaper we had come a few years ago to trim some other trees in our yard was very enthusiastic to find it in the city), as according to an online blog post I came across by a former "street tree program manager" (forester?), "Many cities no longer plant the female ginkgo."
So while we will not be collecting fruit, we will continue to harvest the stink and continue to make the best of it while attempting to come to terms with our smelly, unique ginkgo!
|"Fallen fruits usually burst open their fleshy coating releasing the odor"... uh-oh! (11/3/13)|