Heir to 9-11 ‘survivor tree’ planted as sign of hope

Photo: Danielle Finkelstein.Photo: Danielle Finkelstein.

Rescue workers on site after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York saved the only tree that survived the devastation. Today, the Callery pear tree (or Bradford pear, as it is known in the United States) is not only healthy and back home at Ground Zero, it is producing heirs.

Saplings descended from the surviving tree are planted in areas recovering from tragedies or disasters across the country. Most recently, a shoot from the original “survivor tree” was planted in Manorhaven, New York, on Long Island, as part of the village’s 9-11 memorial. The Town of North Hempstead, which includes Manorhaven, lost 56 residents in the attacks.

The trees “are symbolic of the future and of what we are trying to have resonate with everybody: survival,” said David McMaster, a vice president for Bartlett Tree Experts. McMaster, who works in Bartlett’s Southampton branch and manages the sapling distribution program, told Newsday, “There’s always hope for survival, and the tree is symbolic of that.”

To produce new trees, fruit from the original tree, usually rotted, is mashed. Seeds are then extracted and grown in a greenhouse.


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