Ginkgo trees putting on great display

Ginkgo trees date back to the Triassic period when it's believed that dinosaurs and mammals were beginning to evolve.
November 15, 2011


Who needs New England to enjoy fall foliage - or foilage, as some like to say? As the awesome coastal fall weather continues to take us gently toward the winter solstice on Dec. 21 - when the days will begin lengthening again - most of the local trees have gone through their oranges and reds as they prepare to drop their leaves into our yards and undress the countryside for the winter months.

One of the most dramatic and ancient trees of the fall is in its full glory right now.  That's the Asian ginkgo.  I passed the one shown here on Monday evening just as the sun was slipping below the horizon and its light was in that magical moment of luminescence. Ginkgo leaves change from green to yellow late, but when they go, it's a very uniform and bold yellow.  This one is in front of the Cape Henlopen Army Reserve Center on Savannah Road in Lewes.

So uniform and with their leaves tight against their branches, ginkgos remind me of poodles.  They have the quiet and smart dignity of a breed of tree that has survived for more than 200 million years - back to the geologic period known as the Triassic when it's believed that the first dinosaurs and mammals were beginning to evolve.

Ginkgos are valued as a landscape tree because they are pollution and drought tolerant.

I like them because they turn such a beautiful and intense yellow and carry their color late into the fall, reminding us of just how beautiful autumn is along the coast.