Things in unusual places #21: Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba at Cabot Circus car park in Bristol

I've followed this tree up the ramp at Cabot Circus car park in Bristol many times. Its buttery yellowness and being forced to park on the top floor finally persuaded me to take a longer look, much to the annoyance of some motorists. I didn't care. I was 'parked' on a little step and could safely peer my camera over the edge to take this picture.

To my delight I found a Ginkgo biloba. It's surprising a tree can survive being planted in such a space, never mind one of the more unusual ones. Later that day I realised the city centre's street tree planters seem to have a special fondness for this specimen. They're everywhere.

Ginkgo biloba at Broadmead shopping centre, Bristol

Here's one of several I found later in Broadmead. It's not the first time I've got excited about this species... here's a golden tale from the garden at Bath's Holburne Museum.

Beautiful Ginkgo biloba leaves in the twilight


  1. It is a beautiful tree...and a venerable species

    1. Yes, it's a wonderful tree gz, though great care needs to be taken with selection as the female tree bears fruit which stink to high heaven! The ones in Bristol look like they're male - no evidence of fruit on either the trees or rotting on the ground.

  2. I don't remember the tree (we walked past) but I do remember Cabot Circus. Such an enticing name ... for a shopping mall.

    1. You can only see this if you park in Cabot Circus car park. Shame I didn't know you were in Bristol, it's not that far from me! I wrote about Cabot Circus when it first opened, I found it great from an architectural perspective, but I struggle to find anything I actually want to buy from there. I do visit the cinema and restaurants there when I meet up with my ex-colleagues for our monthly Girls' Night Out - that's what led to this picture being taken :)

  3. That's brilliant! I love the leaves on that tree, what an unexpected find!

    1. They're a wonderful shape aren't they? Thanks for visiting Belinda, I hope you're enjoying Veg Plotting!

  4. A couple of interesting comments on Facebook: June remarked "Poor tree, I wonder what it did to deserve that..." and she's right. I'm constantly amazed how the Cabot Circus tree manages to survive with so little possibility of a good watering from rainfall and how it's cramped into such a tiny space.

    Sara believes the trees are being used as pollution mop-ups in air pollution hot spots in Bristol. As a result they're seen at Clifton Triangle and Avonmouth and other places in addition to those I've spotted.

    This article appears to confirm Sara's belief as it cites a study in Bologna, Italy which compiled a list of trees which can help to reduce air pollution. Ginkgo biloba is on that list.

    1. I'm with June, that was my first thought too. It might be the angle of the photo that makes it worse, but it looks sad and lonely :-/

    2. It is quite a stark photo Hazel. I do like following the tree up the car park ramp though as the floor levels act like giant picture windows - that's a much better view!


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