Country Ghetto Palm

Ailanthus was sold in nurseries across the country as the Tree-of-Heaven for many years, before its invasive qualities were recognized.  People planted them as ornamental trees not only in the cities but out in the rural areas as well.  And so it turned out that when my parents left Detroit to get in to organic farming, they wound up on a nature center that had a grove of decades-old Ailanthus growing right in the very heart of the sanctuary.   Twenty years later, the trees have still never spread off the island!  I find it all the more amazing because they are situated in disturbed, degraded old cattle pasture.  One would think if they can spread like wildfire through disturbed and abandoned urban sites they can do the same in an old field like this one.  But no, in the country, ghetto palm behaves itself.  Maybe it was just the crisp, clear fall sun, but this grove displayed a beauty I never appreciated in Ailanthus before.


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