Ginkgo The Tree That Time Forgot Peter Crane, Pollyanna von Knorring

Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
28 May 2015
ISBN:
9780300213829
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
408 pages: 229 x 178mm
Illustrations:
61 b-w illus.

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Perhaps the world’s most distinctive tree, ginkgo has remained stubbornly unchanged for more than two hundred million years. A living link to the age of dinosaurs, it survived the great ice ages as a relic in China, but it earned its reprieve when people first found it useful about a thousand years ago. Today ginkgo is beloved for the elegance of its leaves, prized for its edible nuts, and revered for its longevity. This engaging book tells the rich and engaging story of a tree that people saved from extinction—a story that offers hope for other botanical biographies that are still being written.

 
Inspired by the historic ginkgo that has thrived in London’s Kew Gardens since the 1760s, renowned botanist Peter Crane explores the history of the ginkgo from its mysterious origin through its proliferation, drastic decline, and ultimate resurgence. Crane also highlights the cultural and social significance of the ginkgo: its medicinal and nutritional uses, its power as a source of artistic and religious inspiration, and its importance as one of the world’s most popular street trees. Readers of this book will be drawn to the nearest ginkgo, where they can experience firsthand the timeless beauty of the oldest tree on Earth.

Peter Crane is Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean and professor, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, and former director of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK. He divides his time between Oak Park, IL, and New Haven, CT.

"This engaging book uses Ginkgo as a point of departure to examine a wide range of topics—the history of botanical exploration in China and Japan, as well as plant anatomy, physiology, evolution, extinction, and conservation. . . . It is both scholarly and accessible."—Scott Wing, Smithsonian Institution
 
"Ginkgo takes a place among the best books on plants that I have had the pleasure of reading. It provides an extremely interesting account of a remarkable plant through space, time, and culture."—Peter H. Raven, President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden
 
"My favorite Ginkgo is the iconic 'over my dead body' in Hibiya Park in Tokyo. Peter Crane’s book will enchant both experts and newcomers to these splendid plants."—Robert M May, University of Oxford
 
"Peter Crane provides a compelling and definitive portrait of the Tree That Time Forgot: its ancient lineage, its natural history, and history interwoven with people. . . . an eye-opening page turner about the Ginkgo in particular and trees in general. A triumph of beautifully written scholarship."—Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University
 
"A remarkable book about a remarkable tree that came through from the age of the dinosaurs in one corner of China, and has now repopulated parks and gardens all over the world. An important biography of the ultimate survivor."—Richard Fortey, author of Horseshoe Crabs & Velvet Worms