Short short with English summary

「いちょう」は、英語で何と言いますか? 「乙女のあそこの毛 maiden hair tree」です。 東京には、いちょうの葉をマークにしているところがいくつもありますね。

November is the season of colored autumn leaves even in warm Tokyo.
In the inner city of Tokyo, there are many cherry trees and keyaki (Zelkova serrata / a sort of elm?). Their autumn leaves are beautiful. But autumn leaves of maple trees and ginkgo trees are so bright and representative in Tokyo urban area. Maple trees do not quite fit to line the streets so usually they are planted in gardens. In the nature there are many different sorts of maple trees in the mountain forests giving fantastic nuances of autumn colors. Ginkgo has strong profile and so characteristic that does not applied in the Japanese gardens. But ginkgo is often planted in the parks and along the streets, making fine lines.
Ginkgo is a very interesting tree.
The fossils of ginkgo were found from many different places and they are 120,000,000 years old. But the gingkoes we see today are only one species. There is no neighboring species. There is no natural forest of ginkgo. We see many ginkgoes in the world and all of them are panted and kept by the people. It may be considered that gingkoes have been an endangered species or already an extinct species on the Red List for thousands of years.
Then, where is the place of origin of ginkgo? Where could be the last natural forest of gingko? In the most of the academic materials it is stated the origin of ginkgo was somewhere south eastern area in China, Anhui or Zhejiang. But I doubt it.
Why do I doubt it? Because a word with one character meaning gingko does not exist in the chinese language.
China is the largest nation in the world. The population of China is 1,360,000,000. (USA; 315,000,000.) And China is an only nation using only ideograms, Chinese characters. Chinese characters are not phonograms, not phonetic letters.
We Japanese use Chinese characters together with kana that is phonograms. Chinese characters were made some 3000 years ago. Everything, concrete or abstract, has a corresponding symbol, Chinese character. “One letter, one sound, and one definition” this is a very strict firm principle which Chinese people have kept when they found a new phenomenon and made a new character. A thing named using two characters suggests the thing is a stranger for China.
Therefore, there is no one single character meaning ginkgo proves the tree gingko has been considered by Chinese people strange and imported. The tree gingko has such very characteristic form and is useful material as timber and used to live very long, often longer than 1000 years. It would never happen the tree has not have just neglected in the Chinese cultural history.
Gingko plank is valued as highest material for cutting board by Japanese chefs. Gingko leaves extract is medicine in Germany. Do you know gingko’s common English name? It is “Maiden hair tree”. You can find many gingko leaf marks in Tokyo!