Ginkgo homework

Scott Shumway Scott_Shumway at
Tue Dec 5 11:42:17 EST 2000

I would like to assign the following homework for the listserv readers.
Further discussion of the reading is welcome.  The paper provides answers
to many of the questions being tossed about on the listserv.

Del Tredici, P; Ling, Hsieh; Yang, Guang. 1992. The Ginkgos of Tian Mu Shan.
    Conservation Biology vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 202-209

    The question of whether or not Ginkgo biloba still exists in the wild has
    been debated by botanists, without resolution, for almost a hundred
    years. Most of the controversy has focused on a single population of trees
    located on Tian Mu Shan (Tian Mu Mountain) in Zhejiang Province,
    China, a site of human activities for approximately 1500 years.
    Regardless of its origin, the Tian Mu Shan Ginkgo populations is
    biologically significant by virtue of its long survival in a
semi-natural state
    under conditions of intense interspecific competition. A total of 167
    Ginkgos were counted and measured in the 1018 ha Tian Mu Shan
    Reserve. Many of the trees were growing on disturbance-generated
    microsites, such as stream banks, steep rocky slopes, and the edges of
    exposed cliffs. Forty percent of the censused individuals were
    multitrunked, consisting of at least two trunks greater than 10 cm in
    diameter at breast height. Most of these secondary trunks originated from
    root-like "basal chichi," that are produced at the base of trees that have
    experienced damage from soil erosion or other factors. No Ginkgos less
    than 5 cm in basal diameter were found in the mature forests of Tian Mu

Further discussion topics might include:

What should be call the fruit-like thing that falls from a "female" tree?
A megaspore? a seed? It can't be a fruit and isn't really a seed if it has
yet to be fertilized.  The surrounding flesh produces butyric acid which is
the source of the odor of rancid butter and romano cheese.  Does butter
still go rancid? (would our students understand this statment taken from
Raven et al?  Now I know why I prefer parmesan.)

How is it possible that fertilization takes place after the megaspore has
fallen from the tree?

Scott Shumway
Associate Professor of Biology
Dept. of Biology
Wheaton College
Norton, MA 02766
"Scott_Shumway at"
fax 508-285-8278


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