The origins of Ginkgo biloba, also known as Asia's "sacred tree", can be traced back some 300 million years. The tree's apparent immortality is the result of its unique power of regeneration and has given rise to scores of myths and legends. Thus in ancient times Ginkgo protected the temples of Japan an China from evil spirits. It seems that the very secret of mental vitality is locked inside the Ginkgo leaf. The legendary tree also appears in literature and art: Germany's most celebrated poet, Goethe, was inspired to poetry by the imposing appearance of the Ginkgo tree and the delicate beauty of its leaves. The split leaf of the Gingko biloba was used as a gilded ornament on numerous art noveau buildings.