In the Zhongnan Mountains of China, there is an ancient, 1,400-year-old ginkgo tree that grows next to the Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple. Every year in the fall, the massive tree’s leaves turn from green to a bright yellow. As they fall, they turn the temple’s grounds into a breathtaking ocean of gold. The spectacular tree draws in several thousand visitors each year.
The ginkgo tree (Ginkgo bilboa) is the last remaining species of a very old, extinct division of trees and has changed very little over 270 million. For this reason, it’s often known as a “living fossil,” since it dates back to a time when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. It has been cultivated in China for thousands of years and holds special status in Buddhism and Confucianism. Ginkgo is a popular ingredient in many health supplements as it is thought to enhance cognitive function and focus, though these claims have not been entirely validated by the medical community.
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