Tree of Heaven Ailanthus Altissima
There’s a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly…survives without sun, water, and seemingly earth.
—A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
An invasive rapidly growing weed, it releases toxins that prevent the development of other plant species. Foul in smell, it earned the name of “stink tree”. Aggressive, its root system can cause damage to sewers and foundations. It is not only one of the fastest growing plants in America but has the ability to grow in some of the most inhospitable of areas. While it strives despite the poorest of conditions, at times it is at the expense of others, refusing to be destroyed. It is also nicknamed “tree from hell”.