When I was a small boy, I was fascinated the first time I saw the leaves of the ginkgo tree, so remarkably different from the leaves of all other trees.
They fascinated me even more when I learned that the ginkgo is a very ancient tree, with fossils going back millions of years. Ginkgos were once widespread, and are found fossilized even here in the Pacific Northwest. But over time their range shrank more and more, until finally they were growing only in central China — the source for the ginkgo trees we know today.
There is an autumn hokku by Michihiko (1755-1818)
No other tree nearby,
The falling leaves
Of the ginkgo.
The point of this verse is that the ginkgo in autumn, with its fan-shaped leaves that turn bright yellow, is a rather glorious sight. And because there are no other autumn leaves from other trees nearby, the sight of a bright yellow ginkgo in fall, its leaves scattering, is all the more impressive.