Turned yellow, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Nonaka Oikawa’s photostream

The ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is a “living fossil”–meaning that it’s similar to a species which is otherwise known only from fossils and has no close living relative. The ginkgo tree species in particular dates back some 270 million years. The tree is native to China, where some trees planted at temples are believed to be over 1,500 years old! Ginkgos adapt remarkably well to the urban environment–tolerating pollution and confined soil spaces–which is why they are widely planted along many city streets. Ginkgos have various uses in traditional medicine and as a source of food.


Gingko – 銀杏 – イチョウ, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Max Sat’s photostream

On Saturday, November 7th, you can join Tree Pittsburgh in Highland Park and celebrate this oldest species of tree in the world at the first ever Pittsburgh Ginkgo Fest. Enjoy the beautiful fall colors of the park–including the ginkgos which turn a bright yellow in autumn. The festival will feature a performance by Pittsburgh Taiko–a Japanese taiko drumming group (the ginkgo is the official tree of the Japanese capital of Tokyo, and the symbol of Tokyo is a ginkgo leaf). There will also be crafts and origami activities, children’s story time, face painting, tree ID walks, and photos in front of Pittsburgh’s largest ginkgo tree. The actual size of this massive tree will be revealed for the first time at Ginkgo Fest.

Organizations in attendance at the festival will include the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, American Homestay Services, Tree Pittsburgh, and CMU Origami Club.

Pittsburgh Ginkgo Fest
When: Saturday, November 7, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Maple Grove Shelter, Highland Park (next to the Super Playground)
Schedule: 1:30-2:00: Tree ID walk, 2:00-2:30: Pittsburgh Taiko performance,
2:45: Children’s Story time with The Ginkgo and the Moon, 3:00-3:30: Tree ID walk