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Monday, December 4, 2023

Ginkgo tree seeds: the stinker around the corner

Ginkgos are considered symbols of friendship and hope, they are ancient and otherwise amazing. If only it weren’t for that semen smell.

Leaves and ripe fruits of the gingko tree

Look nice, but don’t smell good: ripe fruits of a gingko tree Photo: blickwinkel/imago

Calamity comes from above. A gust of wind blows through the leaves and the yellowish-orange balls begin to rain down. On the sidewalk in front of our house, on the street, on the roofs of the cars parked under the ginkgo tree. It sounds like a short drum roll. The fruit-like seeds then make their grand appearance at the bottom: burst open and crushed, they spread a nasty stench. The whole stretch of road smells like vomit.

This happens every fall, especially in November. The more balls fall, the more people walk over them, the more the mass mixes with the yellow leaves and the sidewalk beneath the tree becomes a slippery, smelly path. Passers-by rush past, wrinkling their noses, hoping not to get too muddy soles, otherwise it will also be smelly at home or in the office.

He has Ginkgo biloba, As the botanical name goes, it actually has an excellent reputation – it’s not for nothing that the fan-shaped leaves adorn gold jewelry, bags and T-shirts. Ginkgos are considered a symbol of hope and friendship, their extract is even said to have healing powers, they stand for longevity and resilience.

In fact, ginkgos are not easily defeated. The plant could in fossil finds It has been proven that it is hundreds of millions of years old and has even outlived the dinosaurs. Oaks, beeches, linden trees? They are total beginners in comparison. That a ginkgo tree even after the nuclear explosion sprouted again in Hiroshima may also have contributed to the creation of myths.

Goethe was also very enthusiastic about the tree imported from China, he wrote poetry: This tree’s leaf coming from the east / Entrusted to my garden / Gives secret meaning to taste … Oh well. Sometimes you would like to cost a little less, and the whole thing is really not a secret. But the ginkgos are indeed pretty, especially now in November, as their bright yellow often replaces the sun. If only it weren’t for the smell.

This text comes from the weekday. Our weekly newspaper from the left! Every week, wochentaz is about the world as it is – and as it could be. A left-wing weekly newspaper with a voice, attitude and the special taz view of the world. New every Saturday at the kiosk and of course by subscription.

Women are the problem, unfortunately there is no other way to say that. Only the female trees shed the balls, which are reminiscent of mirabelle plums, which contain butyric acid and therefore smell so bad. It’s only because of them that they say: the ginkgo is a stinker.

This could soon annoy even more people. Because ginkgos can withstand prolonged drought as well as sub-zero temperatures and exhaust gases, they are considered City trees of the futurethat will also survive the climate crisis. The obvious solution would be to only plant male ginkgos, but that is easier said than done. Ginkgoes grow slowly; it takes two to three decades to tell which tree is male and which is female. Then cut down a tree? Even the fertile ginkgo lady on our doorstep wouldn’t wish that; after all, it’s a wonderful tree in all other seasons.

First of all it’s time to close your nose and get through it. Numerous stink bombs are still hanging in the increasingly bare branches. But winter is definitely coming. And once the seed slush is frozen, it no longer smells.

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