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Gingko trees, thin and feathery, growing on a steep hillside in the mist

Ginkgo trees

The first trees

Ginkgo trees were the first kind of tree. These first trees on earth appeared during the Permian period, about 270 million years ago. This was during the time of the early dinosaurs.

Earlier ferns
The Permian period
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How did they spread?

Because at this time all of the earth’s land was grouped together in one continent, Pangaea, ginkgo trees spread rapidly over all the land.

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As Pangaea drifted apart into the continents we have now, all of the continents had these trees on them.

How long do ginkgo trees live?

They live for a long time. Some are known to be more than 2500 years old, and there’s one that people think may be 3000 years old.

Where do ginkgos grow?

This kind of tree can only grow in light soil near rivers, and they don’t like to be crowded together.

Gingkos almost die out

By the end of the Cretaceous period, about 95 million years ago, there were not very many ginkgo trees anymore. By the end of the Tertiary period, about two million years ago, these early trees had died out everywhere but one small part of China.

China’s environment
The Cretaceous period

All of the world’s gingko trees today come from that small group in China. Today, people have taken these unusual trees all over the world to grow them, because gingko trees grow better than other trees in polluted cities.

More about ferns

More about cycads

Or more about conifers (pine trees)

More about angiosperms (flowering trees)

Bibliography and further reading about ginkgo trees:

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