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 […]

Ailanthus The Official Plant of Hip Hop

Submitted by Manny I have always been fascinated by the Ailanthus tree since I was a kid growing up in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a rough inner city section of Boston. I used to crush the leaves in my hands and smell its intoxicating aroma. I used to daydream about possible medicinal and or industrial uses for […]

Open-Air Museum

By Adrienne Rich Ailanthus, goldenrod, scrapiron, what makes you flower? What burns in the dump today? Thick flames in a grey field, tended By two men: one derelict ghost, One clearly apter at nursing destruction, Two priests in a grey field, tending the flames Of stripped-off rockwool, split Mattresses, a caved-in chickenhouse, Mad Loy’s last […]

Henry James and Ailanthus

Ailanthus must have been widely planted by New York City in the 19th century. The great American author Henry James mentions Ailanthus in his description of Washington Square in the book of the same name (1880), excerpted by PBS. The ideal of quiet and of genteel retirement, in 1835, was found in Washington Square, where […]