A big ginkgo in Prospect Park by the Wellhouse has lost several branches, probably in the recent snow. I brought one home to see if it would sprout if I put it in water. If so, several leaves will emerge from these tips.
The ginkgo, I think we can all agree, is a strange tree. It is a living fossil, with a record dating back 270 million years. It is the only representative of the division Ginkgophyta, placed "between" the Pinophyta (pines, firs, cedars etc.) and the Magnoliophyta (the deciduous trees). The trees are individually sexed -- and the city will no longer plant female trees because the fruits are pretty messy and stinky once they've been smeared into the sidewalk -- and the seeds are fertilized by motile sperm, as in the cycades, ferns, mosses, & algae.