Japan: Residents riled by smelly nuts

Gingko seeds Image copyright Wikimedia/Aomorikuma
Image caption The pulp surrounding gingko nuts is infamous for its foul stench

The annual spectacle of Japanese gingko trees in autumn is being soured by the foul smell of fallen nuts, it's been reported.

Some residents in Japanese cities are complaining about the stench of the fallen fruit, leading to local governments trying to find ways of solving the issue, the Mainichi Daily News Reports. When fresh, gingko nuts are considered a valuable part of Japan's food culture, but the butyric acid in the pulp surrounding the nut results in a smell that's said to resemble rancid butter, vomit or an extremely pungent cheese. It's made worse by the vast avenues of gingko trees planted in Japanese cities known for their spectacular yellow canopy in autumn. Some 570,000 trees have been planted around the country, Mainichi says.

While only female gingko biloba trees produce nuts, it's difficult to distinguish between male and female saplings. That means of the 1,000 or so in one of Japan's best-known gingko sites in Osaka, a quarter are females, meaning employees work night shifts shaking the nuts out of the trees to pass to local residents, Mainichi Daily News says. In Kawasaki, government employees gave out nuts for free at a municipal event. However, the smell remains an issue, with one official saying that the stench is something people just have to learn to live with: "We've always just accepted it as something that we can't do anything about."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gingko trees are famed for their spectacular autumnal display, but at a cost

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