From an evolutionary point of view, it is of interest to note the occurrence of filicinean and cycadean characters in the maidenhair tree.
Minus has foliage somewhat resembling that of the Maidenhair fern.
It is also known as adder's foot, golden maidenhair and wood-fern, and is the oakfern of the old herbals.
The maidenhair tree is one of the most interesting survivals from the past; it represents a type which, in the Palaeozoic era, may have been merged into the extinct class Cordaitales.
The genus Aneimites, resembling the Maidenhair Ferns in habit, has now been transferred to the Pteridosperms, the seeds having been discovered in 1904 by David White.
Among Palaeozoic genera there are some which bear a close resemblance to the recent type in Geological the form of the leaves; and petrified Palaeozoic seeds, almost identical with those of the maidenhair tree, have been described from French and English localities.
The Cordaitales (see Palaeobotany: Palaeozoic) are represented by extinct forms only, which occupied a prominent position in the Palaeozoic period; these plants exhibit certain features in common with the living Araucarias, and others which invite a comparison with the maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba), the solitary survivor of another class of Gymnosperms, the Ginkgoales (see Palaeobotany: Mesozoic).
Ginkgo - Maidenhair Tree.