Golden Showers


There's always something quite beautiful about the autumn colours. The intricate blends of rich fiery shades are often a sight to see in the fall seasons. However in the Zhongnan Mountains of China, there lies a 1400 year old Ginkgo tree that sheds its golden foliage and creates a stunning bountiful carpet on the ground underneath. It stands out in the forestry around it, with nothing close to matching its leaves.


Located in the backyard of a monastery, in the province of Shaanxi, the Ginkgo tree was said to been planted by the emperor of the Tang dynasty (618–907). Known as 'a living fossil' it is the last surviving species from an ancient group of Chinese trees that are older than dinosaurs. Newer Gingko trees have even survived the atomic bomb which devastated Hiroshima and within months, new shoots appeared from its charred trunk.


From when its fan shaped leaves begin to form, many people from all around gather for a glimpse of the foliage spectacle. It has become a real attraction with 60,000 people expected to visit in the 20 days after its leaves begin to fall which marks the beginning of autumn and a cause for celebration.


Gingko (the Maidenhair tree) is also known for its great health properties, particularly used by Chinese herbalists, it has now shown to boost memory and ease depression. Female trees produce a sickly smelling fruit which although is toxic can be turned into an edible product. In China and Japan, it is a delicacy, where the outer pulp will have to be fermented and the inner nut dried and roasted. before being used in cooking.


The Zhognan Mountains is definitely a destination to visit to see such an incredible sight, and who knows maybe planting your own Gingko could last a couple centuries.