Gingko trees are distinctive even in the full green of summer but become even more so when the fall turns their leaves bright yellow. And they’re even more distinctive if they’re female gingko trees and drop smelly mushy tasteless (yeah, I couldn’t resist tasting some) fruits on the sidewalk that get on your shoes. That’s why I love them.
Recently I also learned the word marcescent. A leaf which is dead or dying but still clings to the tree is marcescent. It means, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “Of a part of a plant: withering but not falling off.”
A few years ago gingko was promoted as an herbal supplement that could make you smarter. I’m not sure whether it’s supposed to be the leaves. Maybe it’s the fruit. I’ve been smart enough never to try one again. That reminds me of a joke: a city kid and a country kid are walking through the forest and find a pile of rabbit pellets.
“What are those?” asks the city kid.
“They’re smart pills,” says the country kid.
The city kid picks up a handful and pops them in his mouth and says, “These taste like shit!”
The country kid says, “See? You’re gettin’ smarter already.”
The idea that gingko can make you smarter seems to have withered, but I hope you feel smarter for now knowing the word marcescent.