Saturday, 9 August 2008

Tree of Heaven - or hell?

At the entrance to Kingsdown churchyard is a tree with leaves like Ash, but larger. It's called the Tree of Heaven from its reach for the sky, reflected in its Latin name Alianthus altissima.
Very appropriate then, that it should be near the church.
The bad news is that it is invasive with suckers spreading far from the parent tree, and with a toxic release that inhibits the growth of other species. An import in the 1700s from China, the tree has been planted widely in the UK, and warmer weather is encouraging its spread. It could become a serious environmental pest.

A very different 'tree' is the Tree Mallow, seen here growing between Undercliff Road and the beach. It appears brown and dead, but it is covered in seeds or mericarps.
Just along the road are a number of Common Mallows, eking out a life on the shingle in the harsh sea air.


me ann my camera said...

The Tree Mallow must be rather attractive in bloom. I have Mallow growing in my garden; I must check it out to see what species it is.

Greenie said...

I'll vote for hell .
There is one next door to us . I managed to talk the previous owner in to keeping it down , but the new owner does absolutely nothing , and as you say the suckers come up everywhere , mostly in our garden .
Never mind the Tree Mallow , I wish the Tree of Heaven was brown and dead .
p.s. It's Ailanthus altissima
AKA - Swingle .

Mary said...

You wonder "what were they thinking? with some of the invasive foreign species that show up. It would be interesting to hear from the people who admitted that they were the ones that first brought such and such a plant or animal to our country. Who would take credit for all the mess Kudzu has made in the southern US? Or...too be honest...the English House Sparrows that over populate? Or your Tree of Heaven? Shall we hand out gold medals for "short-sided thinking"? Good photos!

Steve said...

Like Greenie i have one looming over my garden from my neighbours land. I have asked him to control it but he we have saplings close by also growing at a rate of knots