Friday, October 23, 2015

Ginkgo-In one consent

Drawing of Ginkgo leaf from Field Guide
It happened-in one consent Nov 7 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I drew some of the golden ginkgo leaves that I found on Riverside Drive, but now I see that most of the other ginkgo trees still have their green leaves, and I wondered about that.  The story about the ginkgos is that all of them drop their leaves on the same day or very close to that.   "The Consent" by poet Howard Nemerov, which I excerpt below, is about the ginkgo phenomenon:

“Late in November, on a single night
Not even near to freezing, the ginkgo trees
In one consent, and neither to rain nor to wind
But as though to time alone: the golden and
the green
Leaves litter the lawn today, that yesterday
Had spread aloft their fluttering fans of light.

But I am noticing something different this year.  Most of the leaves are green and look more like the one I drew for the Field Guide not the ones I found and drew a few weeks back.  So I asked tree expert Wayne Cahilly at the New York Botanical Gardens.  He wrote back: “Gingko has male and female trees which color and drop about a week apart in most years. With the dry summer that gap may have widened.” It is more than two weeks now, and I will keep watching for that night when “In one consent,” the leaves will drop. 

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