Ginkgoales or Ginkgophyte is a gymnosperm order containing only one extant species: Ginkgo biloba, the ginkgo tree. It is monotypic, (the only taxon) within the class Ginkgoopsida, which itself is monotypic within the division Ginkgophyta. The order includes five families, of which only Ginkgoaceae remains extant.
The first Ginkgo leaves were found from the Triassic period, but there were many species of Ginkgo during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods as well. These periods, known collectively as the Mesozoic era, were when diversity and distribution for all plants were at their highest, including in Ginkophytes. It was in the early Cenozoic period that Ginkgophytes nearly became extinct, specifically during the early Cretaceous and Tertiary periods. The only remaining Ginkgophyte was Ginkgo adiantoidses – a polymorphic species. The Chinese were the ones to save Ginkgo, as they grew them in their temple gardens. This is why modern Ginkgo trees are native to China.