You are here


Common Name: Ginkgo, China Maidenhair[1]

Scientific Name: Ginkgo biloba

In 1806, William Hamilton wrote to Thomas Jefferson that he intended to send to him three trees that he thought Jefferson would "deem valuable additions" to his garden.[2]Ginkgo biloba or the China Maidenhair tree was one of the trees listed. Hamilton went on to say that it produced a "good eatable nut."[3]

The Gingko is a large, hardy, deciduous tree with delicate, fan-shaped leaves that turn bright yellow in fall, and it has been used medicinally for thousands of years. The female trees produce edible fruit.


  1. This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.
  2. Betts, Garden Book, 321. Copy at the Library of Congress.
  3. Quoted in Peggy Cornett, "Inspirations from the Woodlands Jefferson's abiding attachment to Philadelphia's Botanical Riches," Twinleaf, (2005),

Further Sources


Login or register to participate in our online community.