La Cambre Abbey Ixelles
GPS coordinates :
50.8195 , 4.3739
Scientific inventory
Tree walk - The Ixelles Ponds


Category :
Arbre remarquable
Latin name :
Ginkgo biloba
French name :
Ginkgo biloba
Dutch name :
Japanse notenboom
English name :
Maidenhair tree
Family :
Height :
3 m
Targeted height :
This species can grow up to 30 m
Diameter of the crown :
4 m
Trunk circumference :
156 cm
Expected circumference :
500 cm
Expected longevity :
Can live for more than 1000 years
Origin / Indigenous
Asia, south-west China
Favorite soil :
Favorite climate
Rather hot, humid to temperate, but acclimatising to the Belgian climate

Usefulness and services of the tree :

Enhances the landscape :
Enhances the biodiversity :
Provide oxygen :
Purify the air :
Filter the water :
Prevents flooding :
Stores carbon :
Softens the climate :
Limits soil erosion :
Does good, heals :
Collection of the Belgian State, permanent loan to the Meise Botanic Garden: Von Siebold, Flora Japonica, pl. 136

Features and characters of the individual

Facts and stories

The maidenhair tree (ginkgo biloba) is often referred to as the ‘tree of 40 coins’, or even ‘tree of a thousand coins’, because its golden foliage in autumn meant that the tree used to fetch a high price in the 18th century. Another more obscure name, again referring to the tree’s golden colouring, is ‘the tree with the hair of Venus’ (referring to the Roman goddess of love and beauty).

A slightly more comic name is ‘duck foot’, which refers to the shape of the leaves.

The scientific name, ginkgo, has its roots in Japanese (‘gin kyo’, meaning ‘silver apricot’).

Did you know?

Maidenhair trees have existed since the time of the dinosaurs! It is the last living species in a formerly very diverse family of trees that existed more than 250 million years ago. Originating in Asia, this species is a true force of nature and seen as a symbol of longevity in its native continent.

In fact, the first tree to recover after the Hiroshima atomic bomb explosion was a maidenhair tree!

The benefits of maidenhair trees

Maidenhair trees are the subject of close study and research in the field of medicine. Their leaves and fruit contain compounds that are believed to be very effective in treating age-related diseases.

These trees are also beneficial for their local climate, as they filter pollutants from the air very well – particularly greenhouse gases like CO2. Being highly resistant to air pollution, diseases and high temperatures, maidenhair trees represent hope for the future of our urban spaces. Their large foliage also creates a milder climate, boosting humidity and providing a shading, cooling effect. All of this means that they can play an essential role in combatting overheating cities.

How to recognise a maidenhair tree


Simple composition, fan-shaped, often with two lobes (bilobed); fall from the tree in autumn (deciduous)


Bright green in spring/summer; bright yellow in autumn; and no foliage in winter


Light greyish-brown, with a rough texture and deep furrows (grooves)

Specifics about this maidenhair tree

Standing next to two neighbouring lime trees, this maidenhair tree looks like it’s young and particularly small, but the size of its trunk indicates that it is older than it looks.

Compared to other maidenhairs of the same species, the tree looks a lot like a bonsai. This specimen has a weeping shape, with its branches arching downwards towards the ground, forming a pretty curtain of leaves between spring and autumn. This variety is usually found in botanical gardens or arboretum collections, not in the middle of a city. Its amusing silhouette and overall rarity are what make this tree remarkable.

(Texts and Photos by Priscille Cazin

This portrait is:

- Enriched with an illustration from the Belgian Federal State Collection on permanent loan to the Meise Botanical Garden.

- An initiative of Christos Doulkeridis, Mayor of Ixelles , Audrey Lhoest, portfolio holder for Environment, Green Spaces and Planting, and Tourism and the Ixelles Communal executive

Photo by Priscille Cazin (Sylvolutions) © Ixelles/Elsene
Photo by Priscille Cazin (Sylvolutions) © Ixelles/Elsene
Photo by Priscille Cazin (Sylvolutions) © Ixelles/Elsene
Photo by Priscille Cazin (Sylvolutions) © Ixelles/Elsene
Photo by Priscille Cazin (Sylvolutions) © Ixelles/Elsene
Photo by Priscille Cazin (Sylvolutions) © Ixelles/Elsene
Photo by Priscille Cazin (Sylvolutions) © Ixelles/Elsene
Photo by Priscille Cazin (Sylvolutions) © Ixelles/Elsene
Photo by Priscille Cazin (Sylvolutions) © Ixelles/Elsene
Photo by Priscille Cazin (Sylvolutions) © Ixelles/Elsene