Some say the ginkgo tree is a living fossil, that it hasn't changed at
all in over 200 million years. It lives longer than most trees, and is so tough that it is planted as street trees all over the world because it will survive the traffic and fumes that would kill other trees.
It has a distinctive leaf, one that you will never forget after you
learn what it is. There is not another leaf like it, not one in the
whole wide world.
Ginkgo Biloba, an extract made from the leaves, is sold in health food stores. It is alleged to improve memory and have other health benefits. Ginkgo has been studied as treatment for dementia and Alzheimer's disease, but there has been no scientific evidence that it works.
I can't prove how old it is or if it really has health benefits. However, I do know this: many years ago, someone had the foresight to plant a ginkgo tree on the campus of the University of North Alabama, on a slope near the walk between the parking lot and the Floyd Science Building. Every fall, I have the pleasure of watching it turn from green to yellow to gold.
It is a thing of absolute beauty.