Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Noticing yellow

After an appointment to look at a terrace that needs a garden near the South Street Seaport, I walked home over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was packed with tourists, but I refrained from squashing any. We need them.

It shames me to say that I do not know the name of this tree. It is the same tree in different places: above, at the Manhattan end of the bridge and below, the Brooklyn end. I don't know what it is because I don't like this tree, and its pinnate leaves. In summer. I hate its bark. I wouldn't want to climb it if I were little. So, I pretend it does not exist.

But....every year I notice something botanical (and obvious) for the first time, and this year I have noticed that This Tree is consistently the first to turn yellow in New York (other years noticings?:- three years ago, the flowers and scent of Linden/Tilia, everywhere; two years ago, Golden raintrees; last year, Amelanchiers, fruit, June, everywhere).

[4/15/2009: the trees above and below have been ripped out to make room for the er...park, on the Brooklyn Waterfront]

Yellow, their round shape is very good.

Ed 10/15/08: Here are some pictures to help ID the mystery tree. Click any to enlarge. They are also characterized by leafless, twiggy tips to the branches. Do I remember seeing nutlike fruits? Maybe. Any more ideas?

Ash (Fraxinus), hickory (Carya)?

Of course, now I see them everywhere. Every year this happens. Never see a thing, then it's all over the place. Odd.


  1. I wonder if this is Betty Smith's Ailanthus, the subject of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."
    If so, you will not be its only detractor - here, the "weed police" are pretty tough on it!

  2. Any closeups of the leaves for id? I'm curious, as well.

    The Dogwoods are red now, and the Locusts are yellow. There is one tree which I pass to and from the subway which I think might be the same as this one. It always changes gradually, top down, and often has a rainbow of colors on it.

  3. Now that I know you are here I'll be reading more often. I'll have to avoid using too many of your photos--these are lovely!

  4. MIT: not ailanthus...we think they are weeds, too.

    Xris: hope you can help.

    Crankygirl: thank you, and just link if you do. Please.

  5. I'm not too familiar with East Coast trees, but the shape of these seem right for ash. The leaves, though, look serrated and maybe a bit thinner (elongated) than ash?

    FYI, the "weed police" out west are tough on Tree of Heaven (ailanthus), too ...



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