Beck, Charles B. Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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An order of gymnosperms in the class Ginkgoopsida (Pinophyta) with only one extant species, Ginkgo biloba (the maidenhair tree). Ginkgo biloba (Fig. 1), also referred to as the gingko tree, is native to China. It is cultivated as a shade tree in cities around the world because of its beauty and its resistance to disease and the effects of automotive pollution. It is the only surviving species of the class Ginkgoatae and is considered a living fossil. For thousands of years, the leaves and seeds of the ginkgo tree have been used to make herbal extracts in traditional Chinese medicine. More recently, these extracts have been introduced into Western medicine. See also: Ginkgoopsida; Living fossils; Pinophyta; Tree
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