Fern Shaffer - November 2014

Gingko Leaves

Gingko is a genus of highly unusual non-flowering plants.  The scientific name is also used as the English name.  The genus first appeared in the Permian, 250 million years ago, possibly derived from “seed ferns” of the order “Peltaspermales.”  The Gingko is a living fossil. A single tree can live as long as 1,000 years and grow to 120 feet.  The Gingkos are tough and hardy trees – they can live in most climates, therefore, they have been cultivated all over the world.  For thousands of years, leaves from the Gingko Biloba have been used in Chinese medicine.  In the U.S., many people take Gingko supplements in the belief that it will improve memory and sharpen thinking because Gingko improves blood flow to the brain.

This tree represents the plant kingdom to me, and I paint the leaves as a way to show respect and tribute to its strength and endurance.  Plants can survive without humans, but humans cannot survive without plants.  Our existence depends on these species.

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