Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is known for its medicinal qualities. It is one of the most studied herbs in conventional medicine. Its extracts are said to help with memory loss, depression, and eye and other ailments.

Also known as Kew or Maidenhair tree, a Ginkgo tree has either male or female reproductive organs. Biloba describes its bilobed (Lat.: bi-loba) leaf. The tree is native to Asia’s temperate zones in China and Japan. Some trees are over 3,000 years old. Ginkgo’s resistance to pollution makes it popular in cities and parks. Tokyo University’s alley is famously lined with Ginkgo trees (Jap. Isho). They are green in summer and turn golden yellow in autumn. However, female trees also produce pods that release a sharp odor.

Ginkgo pin with South Sea pearl

In China the Ginkgo is a symbol of hope and peace and appears in literature and art. Chinese monks may have brought the tree to Japan where the Ginkgo has become a symbol of endurance and since 1945 is classified as Hibaku Jumoku: a survivor tree that has faced a nuclear blast. One specimen in Hiroshima’s Peace Park is named Bearer of Hope.

The tree has persisted millions of years with no known living relatives and is a living fossil. Its dawn goes back 300 million years even before dinosaurs roamed the Earth 225 – 65 million years ago. Its saga and resilience have made the tree a symbol of longevity in Asia.

In Europe Ginkgo biloba took root a couple of hundred years ago where it caught the interest of famed German botanist and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The bilobed leaf inspired Goethe as a symbol of duality. In 1815 he wrote the poem Ginkgo Biloba shown below in Goehte’s handwriting. It reflects on the split leaf as a symbol of two-in-one and one-in-two similar to Yin and Yang. Ginkgo has become associated with female and male aspects of all living things and is considered a symbol of harmony and love.

Poeme Goethe 

[English translation]

Ginkgo biloba

The leaf of this tree that here the East
In my garden propagates
On its secret sense we feast
Such as the wise it elevates.

Is it but one being single
Which itself divides?
Are there two that choose to mingle
So that one the other hides?

As the answer to such question
I have found a sense that’s true:
Is it not my song’s suggestion
That I am one and also two?


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s poem Ginkgo Biloba in his hand-writing published in West-Eastern Divan.

CADEAUX JEWELRY pays homage to the symbolism of the Gingko with its Ginkgo jewelry.

Cadeaux Jewelry Ginkgo bangle in 18 Kt rose gold