Urban landscape

Tree of Heaven, aka the Ghetto Palm

In the eastern United States, the Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is known as the Ghetto Palm. It’s a name I like, at once descriptive and ironic – I love the effortless way Americans do that with language…

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), Doughty Mews, Bloomsbury

Since I wrote about the ToH a couple of weeks ago, I have started photographing them where I see them bursting through the ground in their tenacious manner that neatly combines ruthlessness and allure. The rapidly growing results are now on Flickr. And I’m not the only one snapping away it would seem, I found a Flickr ‘Ghetto Palm’ group which has been filled up with all sorts of Ailanthus-alike herbage (sorry, not worth the link), and this picture of a really astonishing specimen in Baltimore:

Tree of Heaven 1

Here’s some more Tree of Heaven resources:
When heaven came crashing down (a blog post about a ToH in New York)
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (a blog post about the ToH’s invasive nature)
The toxic Tree of Heaven threatens England’s green and pleasant land (2006 article from the Guardian)
A Tree Grows in Bermondsey (my post about the ToH)
Trees of Heaven (a follow up post about the ToH in London)
Watch this space for more Ghetto Palm updates…

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10 replies on “Tree of Heaven, aka the Ghetto Palm”

Ha! Your Bloomsbury photo is typical of how I usually see ToH growing. I like the words tenacious, ruthless, and alluring to describe this determined tree. The picture from Baltimore is incredible – bricked in like some crazy anchorite and still growing!

That is an awesome pic of the Tree of Heaven in brick. Such a common tree as to almost never be noticed, but what power a stunning photograph can give!

I have toh growing throughout my yard and up the side of my house. Let me know if you want a picture and a place to attach it.

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