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Dandong City Tree
( chinadaily.com.cn )
Updated: 2011-05-12
Dandong City Tree

The city tree, the ginkgo, is also referred to as the maidenhair-tree. It is an unusual tree variety and botanists regard it as a "living fossil" of the plant kingdom. It is also one of the four major ornamental trees and shrubs in the world, along with the cedar, hoop pine, and golden larch. Chinese horticulturalists also put it in another distinguished category -- the three garden treasures – along with the peony and orchid, and view it as the national tree.

The ginkgo is a deciduous tree with a straight body and lovely shape, which resists pollution and has a long lifespan – of a thousand years or more. Since early times, poets have written about it.

And that’s not all. The ginkgo has medicinal properties as well, while its economic value is not negligible. Its fruit, the ginkgo seed, is tasty and can be used in beverages with a bright color and strong taste that is sweet and luscious, and for health care products suitable for the young and the elderly. The roots, leaves and bark are also suitable for pharmaceutical and clinical use.

As early as the 1930s, Dandong had ginkgo trees lining many streets and the roads. At present, they can be seen along major streets such as the Qijing Street, and Liuwei and Jiuwei roads, some of them a century old. Researchers say there are only six streets in Asia with one-hundred-year-old ginkgoes, three of them in Dandong.

One 35-meter-tall gingko in the Dagu Mountain Temple in Dandong has been around for more than 1,300 years. It takes three grown-ups to encircle the tree with their arms spread. The streets, lanes and parks of Dandong are dotted with 300~500-year-old ginkgoes and major streets and roads are almost completely covered by them. There are 737 ginkgoes on the "road of ginkgoes" which have been around for more than 90 years, 503 of them for 50 years, and nearly 3,000 for 30 years in the downtown area.

The parks, tourist gardens and green areas have been all planted with ginkgoes, for a total of 5,000. The ginkgo has become a popular tree variety for urban greening and 118 streets and roads have been planted with them for this purpose. City planners have come up with Dandong Ginkgo Protection and Management Measures. These ginkgoes of all ages are luxuriant and green and give every visitor to Dandong a sense of their elegant demeanor.

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