Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba; in Chinese and Japanese: 銀杏, pinyin romanization: yín xìng, Hepburn romanization: ichō or ginnan, Vietnamese: bạch quả), also spelled gingko and also known as the maidenhair tree, is a unique species of tree with no living relatives. The ginkgo is a living fossil, recognisably similar to fossils dating back 270 million years. Native to China, the tree is widely cultivated and was introduced early to human history. It has various uses in traditional medicine and as a source of food.
The Ginkgoaceae is a family of gymnosperms which appeared during the Mesozoic Era, of which the only extant representative is Ginkgo biloba, which is for this reason sometimes regarded as a living fossil. Formerly, however, there were several other genera, and forests of ginkgo existed. Because leaves can take such diverse forms within a single species, these are a poor measure of diversity, although differing structures of wood point to the existence of diverse ginkgo forests in ancient times.