Sir Peter Crane will give a lecture, “Ginkgo: The History and Culture of the World's Most Ancient Tree,” at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18, in Convocation Hall on the University of the South campus. The lecture is free and open to the public. Mr. Crane is the university’s 2012-13 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar.
Ginkgo is perhaps the world’s most distinctive and ancient tree. Ginkgo grew up with the dinosaurs, before the Atlantic Ocean existed, and has come down to us almost unchanged for 250 million years. Once a relic, it is now resurgent—among the most popular of herbal remedies and one of the world’s most important street trees. Mr. Crane’s forthcoming book provides the inside story of the life of this singular botanical survivor.
Mr. Crane is the Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. His work focuses on plant origin and history, diversity, and conservation. His latest book, A Biography of Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot, will be published in March. Mr. Crane has been the John and Marion Sullivan University professor at the University of Chicago; director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and director of the Field Museum in Chicago. Elected to the Royal Society in 1998, Mr. Crane was knighted in the United Kingdom in 2004 for services to horticulture and conservation.
The lecture is sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Society's Visiting Scholar Program.