Next Tree Mob™ -
6:00pm, Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ailanthus altissima on mesa
Culture, Collections, and the All-too-comfortable Guest

An intractable weed unleashed from its native forests in China, Ailanthus altissima, the Tree of Heaven, is perhaps the epitome of the invasive urban tree. Often maligned, what would it mean to reexamine our relationship with this once-invited, now-despised plant? As a splendid specimen in the Arboretum, a flourishing wild population in Bussey Brook Meadow, and in feral profusion at the edges of the Arboretum and the city beyond, Ailanthus is as provocative as it is successful. Matthew Battles, associate director of metaLAB at Harvard and Kyle Parry, a recent doctoral recipient from Harvard’s Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, delve into the history and presence of this ubiquitous urban “bad boy” as they ponder culture and collections.

Meet at the mesa above Bussey Brook Meadow, across from the State Labs on South Street, on Wednesday, July 1 at 6:00pm.


By Car: From Centre Street, take Walter Street to Bussey Street, to South Street. Or take the Arborway and exit to Washington Street to turn right onto South Street. Park at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute, 305 South Street, Jamaica Plain. The mesa is across South Street from the Labs and above the Bussey Brook Meadow section of the Arboretum.

Public Transportation: Take the T to Forest Hills. Exit the station at the upper level. Cross Washington Street and walk uphill on South Street towards the State Labs to the mesa.

See map for routes around the Arboretum’s perimeter.

Join us for a Tree Mob™!

What’s a Tree Mob™?

Tree Mobs are interactions with scientists or other specialists at the Arnold Arboretum, and provide another pathway to enjoy and learn in the landscape. Experts share little-known facts about our living plant collection, its relevance today, and its importance to future generations. A Tree Mob may attract a small group or a large gathering—we won’t know until it takes place. Join us in the landscape and discover something new.

What can I expect?

Plan to spend approximately 30 minutes learning about an interesting component of our collection. You can then continue your exploration of the Arnold Arboretum on your own. Tree Mobs are time, date, and location specific.

How does it work?

We will communicate about Tree Mobs by various means (see below). Using mobile technologies, such as a smartphone with location-awareness enabled, you will be able to navigate to the event location. You can also view and print a map we will provide with the day’s Tree Mob location on our website. With directions in hand, proceed to the designated meeting place to participate in our experiment for spontaneous learning.

How can I be notified?

  • Link to Tree Mob on your mobile device.
  • Sign up or manage email notification.
  • Visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.
  • Keep an eye on our website.
  • Scan this QR code with your mobile device.