Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
Division/phylum Ginkgophyta -- Ginkgo
Family Ginkgoaceae -- Ginkgo family
Genus Ginkgo L.
Ginkgo : from the Chinese (later also Japanese) word Ginkyo meaning "silver apricot" (gin=silver, kyo=apricot). This term is thought to come from a romanized version for the Chinese ideograph Yin Hsing (Xing).
|Many authors have
discussed the question why Engelbert Kaempfer
presented the name of the ginkyô-tree in such an awkward spelling
in his "Amoenitates Exoticae". Research
in 2005 (revised 2011) by Prof. Wolfgang Michel-Zaitsu of Kyushu
University, Japan, gives an answer to this question. At Deshima Kaempfer
got hold of copies of a pictorial dictionary "Kinmôzui". His linguistic
information about Ginkgo was taken from Book 18 (Fruits) in the
1668 edition of this dictionary. As Kaempfer was not able to read this
book he inserted a reference number into each frame and a second number
to mark the Chinese characters. These numbers appear again in notes he
wrote down at Deshima.
Many of Kaempfer's notes are preserved. In "Collectanea Japonica" (British Library, Sloane Collection) are several pages with the numbers referring to the Chinese characters in the "Kinmôzui", readings are given in Latin letters. The pronunciation of the 34th Chinese character is explained wrongly as Ginkgo. This note shows that the incorrect spelling in the "Amoenitates Exoticae" is not a result of a simple misprint or misunderstanding by the typesetter in Lemgo, Germany. It was Kaempfer himself who made a small mistake with long-lasting consequences.
Ginkgo in "Kinmôzui" 1668
in "Collectanea Japonica"
page 811 of "Amoenitates Exoticae"
The Chinese characters are explained in Japanese as ginkyô. Undoubtedly Kaempfer's Japanese assistant(s) who explained the characters readings to him pronounced them in the correct way. Y/g: in Kaempfer's handwriting the y differed significantly from the g. As both syllables kyo and gyo are consistently written as kio/kjo and gio/gjo by Kaempfer in his manuscripts one might expect he should have written Ginkjo or Ginkio instead of Ginkgo. Back in Lemgo there was no way to check the validity of his notes on plant names taken in Japan. Therefore the wrong writing Ginkgo was transferred from his notes into the "Amoenitates Exoticae".
biloba: two-lobed; bi from Latin "bis" meaning double, loba meaning lobes. The leaf is fanshaped with a split in the middle, hence two-lobed.
Pronunciation: GINK-oh by-LO-bah.
gender masculine; plural Ginkgos or Ginkgoes.
seed has the size and appearance of a small apricot when mature and a silvery
bloom on the fruit.
It is also often called Maidenhair tree, Ginkgo tree or just Ginkgo:
Maidenhair tree: the leaves resemble those of the Maidenhair fern or Adiantum.
Kaempfer mentions a resemblance between the leaf form of
Adiantum monochlamys Eaton and the Ginkgo
De Hortus, Harderwijk, the Netherlands: Linnaeus and the Ginkgo.
This Ginkgo is said to be planted in 1735 by Linnaeus.
More info and photos click here
Other names are:
Ginkgo biloba L.:
"L" meaning Linnaeus who named it Ginkgo in his classification
in 1771 adding "biloba". E. Kaempfer first called it "Ginkgo" in 1712.
English botanist Smith (1797) proposed this name to honour Richard A. Salisbury,
another botanist. The internationally accepted classified name Ginkgo biloba
by Von Linné could not be changed however, so it remained a synonym.
Pterophyllus salisburiensis, Nelson 1866.
Yin Hsing (Xing) or Silver apricot in Chinese
dvoulalocný, Ginkgo biloba.
Dutch: Ginkgo, Tempelboom, Waaierboom, Japanse notenboom (this last name originates from the idea that the tree came from Japan and the seeds resembled nuts, but now we know this is incorrect and the name is not in common use).
English: Maidenhair tree, Ginkgo, Kew tree, Fossil tree, Temple tree.
Finnish: Neidonhiuspuu (neidon = maiden's, hiuspuu = hairtree), Temppelipuu, Ginkgo.
French: Noyer du Japon, Arbre aux quarante écus (referring to its high price in the 18th century), Arbre des pagodes, Arbre à noix or Ginkgo biloba.
German: Ginkgobaum, Goethe Baum, Ginko, Entenfussbaum, Fächerblattbaum, Mädchenhaarbaum, Weisse Frucht, Beseeltes Ei, Tausend Taler, Bajm, Elefantenohrbaum, Goldfruchtbaum, Silberaprikose, Tempelbaum, Japanbaum, Japanischer Nussbaum, Grossvater-Enkel-Baum.
Musterisviður (Temple wood).
India (Hindi): Balkuwari.
Korean: Ginkgo, Hangjamok, Gongsonsu, Apgaksu, Baekgwamok and Okgwamok.
South African: Ginkgo biloba, Maidenhair tree, Vrekboom.
Spanish:Arbol sagrado, Arbol de las Pagodes, Arbol de los 40 escudos.
Swedish: Ginkgo, Tempelträd.
Turkish: Mabet agaci (Temple tree)
lá quat, cây bach quà ginkgo.
Tree of Forty Gold Crowns: the leaves turn a beautiful gold colour in fall and/or the Ginkgo was very expensive to buy in former times.
Wish Tree: Artist Yoko Ono (widow of Beatle John Lennon) planted a Ginkgo in Detroit. Her message: "Wish Tree for Detroit (Michigan). Whisper your wish to the bark of the tree. Yoko Ono, 2000." "I believe we can create a more positive future through wishing", Yoko stated.
Panda of the plant kingdom: Analogy with the Giant Panda's survival in China. Also called "Botanic Giant Panda".
Peace Tree: In New Bedford (Massachusetts,USA) there's a UN Peace Tree as a community symbol of hope for world peace: the Ginkgo. It was planted in 1955 by schoolchildren as a gesture of hope that all governments would join the United Nations and work toward world peace.
Asteroid Ginkgo: Asteroid 85197 (1991 TG5) is named Ginkgo after the Ginkgo biloba tree.
© Cor Kwant