Ginkgo biloba 'Shangri-La'
Common Name: maidenhair tree 
Type: Tree
Family: Ginkgoaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 40.00 to 55.00 feet
Spread: 25.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree
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 large, deciduous tree that matures to 100' tall and is considered to be a living fossil. 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 because female trees produce seeds encased in fleshy, fruit-like cone 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.

'Shangri-La' is a more compact well-branched tree with a full and balanced crown. It typically matures to 55' tall and to 40' wide. It is a male tree that was discovered in 1963 in a planting of seedlings in Urbana, Illinois by Willet N. Wandell. U.S. Plant Patent PP 5,221 was issued on April 17, 1984. Patent documents describe the unique features of this male tree as: (a) rapid compact growth habit, (b) dense full crown with balanced moderate spread, and (c) freedom from production of the foul smelling fruit produced by female plants. As with species plants, the fan-shaped leaves are rich green to blue green during the growing season, but change to an often spectacular bright yellow in fall. Dangling staminate catkins (April-May) are not ornamentally significant.


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


Excellent selection for a variety of uses, including lawn tree, street tree or shade tree. Also effective in city parks or near commercial buildings.