In the earlier post referencing a photo-log of my commute, I expressed grumpiness that the captions of the images failed to properly appear in Gallery.

One reason is that the interesting tree seen here was not annotated.

It’s a Brazilian pepper tree, a problem plant in Florida.

The tree is just behind the Canal Boiler Works but probably not on the same lot.

How did this tree arrive? Originally, I had thought that it might be a ghost plant, a tree that survived the twentieth-century building boom that erected the industrial flats of the SoDo region. In some of the city’s older residential neighborhoods, five-house city blocks were platted from larger, older farms that had served a generation at most. Fruit trees sometimes survive in the interior of these blocks, a ghost of the prior use of the land. The trees may well have been planted by the home’s first tenants, too, I acknowledge.

The gnarled but fruited limbs of these trees are a signature of Seattle’s pre-World War II housing developments. I feel a strong affection for these trees, visualizing them as arboreal grandmothers, their knotted limbs extended each summer with sweet snacks for we monkeykin.

Alas, given that the pepper tree is a fast grower, my hopeful rumination is unlikely in this case.

Of course, it begs the question, regarding the Boiler Works, “Where is the Canal?”

2 thoughts on “The Pepper Tree

  1. My mother used to point out Brazilian Pepper Trees in the tone of voice you’d use to reference a particularly unpleasant type of STD.

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