Family Tree


* Table to the left shows classifications for Ginkgo biloba. Descriptions of each classification are listed below.

Domain: Eukarya

The organism Ginkgo biloba belongs in the domain called Eukarya. The prefix “eu-“ means “true” and “-karya” means “nucleus.” Therefore, Ginkgo biloba has a true nucleus (complete with genetic material) and membrane bound organelles. (Another example of an organism that is a eukaryote is the Damselfly.)

Kingdom: Plantae

Kingdom Plantae is a group of multicellular,  mostly photosynthetic organisms that are sessile. The word “plant” comes from the Latin word “plantae.” (An example of a plant, other than the Ginkgo tree, is Aloe Vera.)

Phylum: Ginkgophyta

Ginkgophyta is a phylum used to describe seed-bearing or pollen-bearing deciduous plants that lack flowers and fruiting structures. Also, the plants are usually dioecious and still have flagellated sperm cells. It is believed that the Ginkgophytes provide a link from the Pterophytes (seedless, vascular plants) to the Anthophyta (flowering plants).

*Figure 1 (above) shows the classification for Ginkgo biloba from domain to phylum based on molecular and morphological data.

Class: Ginkgoopsida

The Class Ginkgoopsida refers to plants from the Phylum Ginkgophyta that have either strap-shaped or fan-shaped leaves (GLOSSARY). These plants are also dioecious, having the XX or XY chromosomes on different plants making each Ginkgo tree male or female.

Order: Ginkgoales

Scientists are having a very hard time finding information specifically related to the Order Ginkgoales because they can only do research on the one species remaining (Ginkgo biloba) or on fossil records. Fossil records are proving to be hard to distinguish certain characteristics about this exact order because they are about 200 million years old. The species of Ginkgoales are usually very diverse, making it hard to classify them as well. Click HERE to visit a superb online journal article regarding more in-depth details of the dispute surrounding the Order Ginkgoales.

*Diagram above depicts the classification for Ginkgo biloba from class to species. 

Family: Ginkgoaceae

In order to be part of the Family Ginkgoaceae, the plant(s) in question typically exhibits dichotomous veins, or veins that branch by dividing into two equal parts. Also, the pollen is usually produced in a stamen-like structure, and the outer covering on the seeds (produced by the female plant) have a putrid smell.

Genus: Ginkgo

Some characteristics that define the genus Ginkgo are broad (typically triangularly shaped) leaves and the seeds are produced on the end of a shoot. The leaves of the genus Ginkgo are usually found coming out of the short shoot and the short shoots are branched from the longer shoots.

Species: Ginkgo biloba

The specific species Ginkgo biloba is most commonly characterized by the appearance of its leaves. It wasn’t until 1771 that the species was defined as “biloba” by Linnaeus; bi- meaning two, and loba- meaning lobes. The Ginkgo tree is sometimes termed Ginkgo biloba L. or Ginkgo biloba Linnaeus, in reference to the scientist who defined the leaves.

*Reference the picture on left to see what scientists mean when they say "biloba" or "two lobes."


Ginkgo biloba not only has a unique classification, but also it has a one-of-a-kind HISTORY!