Ginkgo biloba 'Chi-Chi'
Common Name: maidenhair tree
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Ginkgoaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, medium moisture soil in full sun. Prefers moist, sandy, well-drained soils. Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, including both alkaline and acidic soils and compacted soils. Also tolerant of saline conditions, air pollution and heat. Adapts well to most urban environments.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ginkgo biloba is a deciduous conifer (a true gymnosperm) that matures to 100' tall. It is the only surviving member of a group of ancient plants believed to have inhabited the earth up to 150 million years ago. It features distinctive two-lobed, somewhat leathery, fan-shaped, rich green leaves with diverging (almost parallel) veins. Leaves turn bright yellow in fall. Ginkgo trees are commonly called maidenhair trees in reference to the resemblance of their fan-shaped leaves to maidenhair fern leaflets (pinnae). Ginkgos are dioecious (separate male and female trees). Nurseries typically sell only male trees (fruitless), because female trees produce seeds encased in fleshy, fruit-like coverings which, at maturity in autumn, are messy and emit a noxious, foul odor upon falling to the ground and splitting open.

Genus name is a misrendering of the Japanese gin meaning silver and kyo meaning apricot used in Japan in the 17th century.

Specific epithet means two-lobed in reference to the leaves.

'Chi-Chi' (also known as 'Tschi-Tschi') is a dwarf, dense, mounded, slow-growing, multi-stemmed shrub form of the popular ginkgo tree. It typically grows to only 4-5' tall with a fan-shaped habit and over 10 years. 'Chi-Chi' is a male clone. Its cultivar name translates as "breasts" in reference to unusual swellings (clusters of dormant buds) which appear on the bark of plants as they mature (usually after 10 years). Leaves turn a uniform golden yellow in autumn.


No serious insect or disease problems. Usually slow growing, with initial growth being somewhat sparse.

Garden Uses

Dense, rounded shrub for foundations, shrub borders, hedges. Also an effective and interesting bonsai plant.