Are the leaves of the ginkgo edible?

Are the leaves of the ginkgo edible?

What do ginkgo leaves look like?

The leaves of a ginkgo tree are distinctive but also very individual. As the common name fan leaf tree suggests, the leaves are fan-shaped. They have long stems and sit individually on the long shoots or in clusters on the short shoots. In winter the ginkgo is bare.

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In spring, the hardy ginkgo sprouts fresh green leaves again. Some varieties also have variegated or striped leaves. The foliage only appears after the rather inconspicuous flowers. In autumn, the foliage glows bright yellow before falling off again.

Is it safe to eat the leaves?

Even if the ginkgo is known as a medicinal plant, you should prevent your children from consuming the leaves in large quantities. In addition to pharmaceutically usable flavonoids, they also contain other substances such as alicyclic acids, which can trigger allergies in sensitive people, larger amounts even lead to symptoms of poisoning. In contrast, the seeds are often used as a spice in Asia.

What happens if you overeat ginkgo leaves?

Excessive consumption can lead to allergic reactions and gastrointestinal problems. The severity of the complaints depends on the content of the ingredients and the individual sensitivity. The leaves are therefore not suitable for medical self-treatment.

The ginkgo leaf in brief:

  • very distinctive appearance
  • each leaf individually shaped
  • usually fan-shaped and curved
  • Color: mostly green, with some varieties also variegated
  • Autumn color: bright yellow
  • falls off in late autumn or winter
  • edible in small quantities
  • can cause allergies and / or poisoning


If you want to use ginkgo to help your memory perform better, the best way to do this is with a drug from the pharmacy. The leaves also contain substances that can cause allergies or, in large quantities, poisoning.