DC’s Gingko Season Starts Early

Today’s guest post is from avid DC ginkgo-watcher Carmen Drahl. Just a few weeks after heavy snowfall pummeled Washington DC, this week the city was sweltering under near-record highs in the 80s. This was bad enough for allergy season but worse for the hapless souls in charge of controlling the pungent fruit on DC's ginkgo trees. According to local news blog DCist:
The unseasonably warm weather has also jump started the production of the dread female ginkgo fruit -- better known to us as jizz berries (or vomit berries or poop berries, depending on your nasal sensibilities). Concerned about having another particularly stinky ginkgo year, the District Department of Transportation’s Urban Forestry Administration started spraying the trees today, much earlier in the year than normal.
Last fall Newscripts told the tale of Ginkgogate '08, where the city tried a new fruit control tactic and failed miserably, leaving city sidewalks coated with slippery, rancid ginkgo fruit pulp. After the article ran, C&EN reader Jian Wang wrote in to tell us about how people in China value the ginkgo fruit for its broad medicinal and nutritional value. That was news to me, although I imagine that folks prefer the fresh fruit. So, to get your mouths watering for what might be a bumper ginkgo fruit crop, I leave you with this recipe, for Ginkgo Nuts with Chicken. Bon appétit!

Credit: Carmen Drahl/C&EN

Author: Rachel Pepling

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  1. The first time I noticed the Gingko problem, I looked up and down a city block to see where the bar was. I would love to give my opinions about Gingko, but they involve cruelty to trees and could possibly undermine the wholesome reputation of the ACS and its staff.

  2. Hey Alex– I had never known about the ginkgo tree fruit, despite the fact that I’d intensely studied total syntheses of ginkgolide B in grad school. I stepped in some of the stuff on my walk to ACS one morning (there’s a ginormous ginkgo about a block and a half away) and.. let’s just say I was motivated to find out more.