09 December 2009

Drunken Drowning Butterfly Leaves


King St., Charleston, S.C.

I like saying Gingko Biloba. Gingko Biloba. Gingko Biloba. You could name a child Gingko Biloba.

I walked past this golden beauty in front of the Library Society Building on lower King St. in the dark this evening and remembered I had this picture taken at the same time of year last December. It was taken in daylight so will have to do.

The Gingko Biloba family of trees are so old they are assumed to have been around for 230 million years ago. Darwin called them 'living fossils'. The trees are so hardy that one of them lived through the atomic blast that destroyed Hiroshima.

Ginkgo biloba - The maidenhair tree
With their neat parachute shape, the leaves tend not to fall in a tidy heap, but to catch on branches of surrounding bushes. The actual material of the leaf is still quite resilient when fallen, and if they land on still water do not lie flat, resembling not so much a dead leaf as a drunken drowning butterfly, or miniature capsizing yacht.

It may look like fall but it still feels like summer. I am just back from a late walk and need another shower before bed. Don't stay up too late kids.