Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Tree-of-heaven prevents tuberculosis

IN PREPARATION, 13 October 2020

John Baxter, in his Woody Allen: A Biography (1999),  describes the Flatbush’s Public School 99,  in Brooklyn, New York, the first school which Allen attended in 1941:

‘A four-storey red-brick building on East 10th Street, its grim fire-station look isn’t ameliorated by the presence of a few sumachs of the type – Ailanthus glandulosa [now known as A. altissima] the tree of Betty Smith’s 1945 best-seller, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – that was planted in the swampier areas of Brooklyn because of an imagined ability to dispel mists thought to cause tuberculosis and other diseases of immigrant communities’.

 

Images:  main, Palace Road, Brixton, London Borough of Lambeth; inset, St James’s Churchyard, Bermondsey, London Borough of Southwark, both October 2020.