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Plant Diversity

Tracheophytes—gymnosperms

What is the oldest surviving species of tree in the world?

The oldest surviving species in the world is thought to be the maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba) of China. This species of tree first appeared during the Jurassic period, some 160 million years ago. Also called icho, or the ginkyo (meaning “silver apricot”), this species has been cultivated in Japan since 1100 B.C.E. Ginkgos are also grown in the United States and are known, of course, for their hardiness. (For more about ginkgos, see this chapter.)



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