Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Officially the "Tree of Heaven," the Ailanthus, is the tree Betty Smith is talking about in her book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Another Asian introduction, arriving in the U.S. in 1784, with a bad reputation for invasiveness and pervasiveness. Its reputation is not bolstered by the noisome odor it gives off when stems are broken, it is also called "stink tree"! The "ghetto palm" not only grows well between cracks in the concrete of the city, but it also thrives in any sunny area in the country it can claim a hold on. This time of year it is coming into seed and they give the tree a handsome appearance perhaps explaining why it was originally imported as an ornamental.

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