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Golden ginkgo in Cornwall Park - autumn colour in early winter

Autumn colour!  A lovely surprise on a brief visit to Auckland, where it is warmer and much less windy than Wellington.  It is considered early winter now, but the leaves were holding on. 

A particularly dazzling display was in Cornwall Park - a grove of ginkgo trees planted in the 1960's.  I caught them in a moment of quiet.  People had been photographing, playing with the leaves, gazing and otherwise enjoying these wonderful trees.  They look quite small in the group photo above - but that was taken from the hill beside them, and with a wide angle lens.  In fact, they towered over us.While this grove is old it is certainly not ancient, but the ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is an ancient tree - the sole survivor of a group of trees older than the dinosaurs.  It is regarded as a "living fossil."Young trees have a more regular shape, but these branches seemed to swirl and tangle. The bright green of summer leaves is gradually replaced by the bright yellow of autumn.  Looking up you can see smudges of green remaining at the base of the fan-shaped leaves.  The similarity of the leaf shape to the maidenhair fern led to the ginkgo also being called the maidenhair tree.

It is a remarkable tree, beautiful, disease and pest resistant, very long-lived (the oldest is said to be 3,500 years old) and tolerant of quite poor conditions and pollution - here in Wellington it is a street tree in parts of the central city.  What these trees have been through - from dinosaurs to fossil fuel-consuming monsters!

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