Tree Profiles: Ginkgo Cultivars, Part 1

This is the first of a two part series on ginkgo cultivars.


Due to its striking foliage, general hardiness, and medicinal utility, the ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) has been cultivated for hundreds of years across various territories. Myriad varieties have been introduced into circulation, and are available for purchase in nurseries and garden centers worldwide. The following examines some of the most popular ginkgo varieties, including ‘Autumn Gold’, ‘Fairmont’, ‘Fastigiata’, ‘Golden Colonnade’, ‘Golden Girl’, and ‘Halka’.

‘Autumn Gold’: “Autumn Gold’ ginkgo is a popular male cultivar. It is a medium sized tree, reaching heights of 40 to 50 feet, with a 25 to 30 foot spread. This cultivar has a broadly spreading growth habit. It develops at a medium rate. In spring, ‘Autumn Gold’ ginkgo produces leaves that are a lush green shade. By autumn, the leaves turn a brilliant golden yellow. The leaves are especially vibrant during the day, when they are backlit by the sun. The yellow coloration persists for several weeks, before the leaves begin to drop.

‘Fairmont’: ‘Fairmont’ ginkgo is a male cultivar that grows 50 to 75 feet tall, with a spread of 15 to 25 feet. This cultivar is named for the location where it was first discovered: Fairmont Park, Philadelphia. ‘Fairmont’ has a distinct columnar to oval shape. It forms a dense, upright crown, and a narrow, slender frame. This makes it an ideal planting along roadways, sidewalks, and driveways. The tree’s foliage is medium green during the growing season. It turns a vibrant golden yellow in fall.

‘Fastigiata’: ‘Fastigiata’ ginkgo, also referred to as columnar ginkgo, is a frequently selected male cultivar. This cultivar is often sold under several other titles, including Ginkgo biloba forma fastigiata, G.b. fastigiata, and G. b. ‘Fastigiata’. ‘Fastigiata’ ginkgo is a medium sized tree. It grows at a slow rate, generally reaching heights of 30 to 50 feet, with a 20 to 30 foot spread. It has an upright growth habit, and a narrow form. Medium green leaves brighten to yellow in fall. ‘Fastigiata’ exhibits a strong resistance to most diseases and insects.

‘Golden Colonnade’: ‘Golden Colonnade’ ginkgo is a medium sized male cultivar that reaches 45 to 60 feet tall, and 15 to 25 feet wide. This cultivar forms an upright central leader. It exhibits an oval growth habit, with a broad crown, and a narrow form. ‘Golden Colonnade’ lacks seeds. From spring to summer, the foliage is green. The fan-shaped leaves turn bright yellow in fall. ‘Golden Colonnade’ is highly resistant to insects, disease pathogens, and environmental stressors.

‘Golden Girl’: ‘Golden Girl’ ginkgo is a female cultivar that grows at a moderate rate. When mature, ‘Golden Girl’ ginkgo ranges between 40 and 50 feet in height, with a 25 to 30 foot spread. This cultivar, like its parent species, is renown for its hardiness. It has an upright growing habit, and establishes a strong central leader. The leaves are initially green, but turn bright yellow in fall.

‘Halka’: ‘Halka’ ginkgo is a seedless male cultivar that grows up to 45 feet tall, with a 40 foot spread. This cultivar develops at a slow rate. ‘Halka’ is one of the hardiest ginkgo cultivars. It forms a thick central leader that supports a dense, symmetrical crown. At first, ‘Halka’ exhibits a broadly pyramidal growth habit, before assuming an oval form as it matures. Medium green leaves brighten to yellow in fall.