Studies into the seedling development of Ginkgo biloba reveal a unique mechanism of clonal regeneration that may help explain the species' long survival in the natural setting. The organ of clonal regeneration in the gingko is called the basal chichi. These organs are part of aggregates of suppressed shoot buds and are located in embryonic tissue of Ginkgo biloba seedlings. When damage occurs to the seedling axis, one of these subsurface buds grows down from the tree trunk to form a woody, stemlike basal chichi. Regeneration of Ginkgo biloba by basal chichi promotes survival of the tree in the forests of China today and may have been a factor in the protracted survival of the order since the Mesozoic era.
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