In this world of modern miracles, sometimes simple pleasures are the most incredible. Thousands of people from all over China have travelled to the Zhongnan Mountains for a very simple pleasure: to look at a tree. It's not just any tree, but a famous Ginkgo that has dropped its stunning leaves every fall for 1400 years, creating a shimmering carpet of gold.
The tree is on the grounds of Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple in the Zhongnan Mountains, south of the city of Xi’an. It was planted during the Tang dynasty (618 – 907) and is on a national protection list of trees.
The leaves make a perfect spot for the temple’s monks to meditate, though the hundreds of people lining the fence to get one perfect photo must be a challenging distraction.
Ginkgo trees are an oddity in nature because they have no known living relatives. They are often referred to as a “living fossil”, because they have remained almost unchanged for more than 200 million years.
The ginkgo is relatively rare in the wild, but mass cultivation and distribution by humans has taken it across the globe and made it into a common site around the world.
Images via Yicai