Tree Profiles: Ginkgo Cultivars, Part 2

This is the second 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 ‘Liberty Splendor’, ‘Magyar’, ‘Presidential Gold’, ‘Princeton Sentry’, and ‘Santa Cruz’.

‘Liberty Splendor’: ‘Liberty Splendor’ gingko is a frequently sought after female cultivar. This cultivar is slightly smaller than many of its counterparts, reaching heights of 25 to 30 feet, with a 20 to 30 foot spread. It has an upright, pyramidal form. The leaves are distinctly fan-shaped. They are initially yellow-green, but transition to a vibrant golden yellow in fall.

‘Magyar’: ‘Magyar’ ginkgo is a male cultivar that was first discovered along the Magyar Bank in New Brunswick, New Jersey. This cultivar has an upright growth habit, and a narrow form, with ascending branches that unite to create a dense canopy. ‘Magyar’ ginkgo grows 50 to 60 feet tall, and 25 to 30 feet wide. In spring and summer, the leaves are green. They turn a resplendent golden yellow in autumn.

‘Presidential Gold’: ‘Presidential Gold’ ginkgo is a medium sized male cultivar that reaches heights of 30 to 50 feet, with a 20 to 40 foot spread. The lush, fan-shaped foliage is green during spring and summer, before turning bright yellow in fall. This cultivar is renown for its strong branch architecture. It establishes a broad crown, and thick central leader, as well as a deep rooting system.

‘Princeton Sentry’: ‘Princeton Sentry’ ginko is one of the most frequently selected male cultivars. It is notable for its ability to withstand heavy storms, and for its resistance to most pests and diseases. This cultivar is medium sized, reaching heights of 40 to 60 feet, with a 15 to 25 foot spread. ‘Princeton Sentry’ has an upright growth habit, and a narrow, conical form. At first, ‘Princeton Sentry’ develops at a slow growth rate. As the tree matures, its growth rate hastens. The fan-shaped leaves are initially green. They brighten to golden yellow in fall. This autumn color often persists for several weeks, before the leaves are abruptly cast from the tree. Due to its slender frame, ‘Princeton Sentry’ makes for an ideal planting along streets, highways, and walkways. It is also commonly used for bonsai.

‘Santa Cruz’: ‘Santa Cruz’ ginkgo, often referred to as ‘Umbrella’ ginkgo, is a popular female cultivar. It is notable for its small stature. This cultivar matures quickly, reaching heights of 15 to 20 feet, with a 15 to 20 foot spread. It has a compact shape, and a low spreading crown. The flat leaves are green throughout the growing season, before turning golden yellow in fall.